Clean Energy Jobs Leading Recovery

July 01, 2022 by Kevin Clemens

A new U.S. Department of Energy study shows the clean energy sector led job recovery following the worst of the pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released its 2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER), a comprehensive study designed to track employment trends across the energy sector in the United States. 


Clean Energy Jobs

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Positive Clean Energy Job Growth

The report shows that during 2021, as the country began to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy sector experienced positive job growth, increasing 4.0 percent from 2020 to 2021, and outpacing the growth in overall U.S. employment (which climbed 2.8 percent in the same period.) The report says that the total number of energy jobs increased, from 7.5 million in 2020 to more than 7.8 million in 2021.

“Amidst the unique challenges of a nation coming out of a global pandemic, America’s energy sector stands out with considerable job growth across nearly all industries,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm in a DOE news release.

The 2022 USEER covers five major energy industries: electric power generation; motor vehicles; energy efficiency; transmission, distribution, and storage; and fuels. According to the report, in 2021, all industries except fuels experienced net-positive job growth.  

Energy Sectors Experiencing Job Growth 

  • Electric vehicle jobs increased by 26.2%, adding 21,961 new jobs
  • Hybrid electric vehicle jobs increased 19.7%, adding 23,577 new jobs
  • Solar energy jobs increased by 5.4%, adding 17,212 new jobs
  • Wind energy jobs increased by 2.9%, adding 3,347 new jobs
  • Energy efficiency jobs increased by 2.7%, adding 57,741 new jobs
  • Transmission, distribution, and storage jobs increased by 1.9%, adding 22,779 new jobs 


Growth by State

According to the DOE study, clean energy was a significant source of new jobs in many states. Michigan, California, and Texas were the three states with the highest job growth numbers.  

  • Michigan gained 35,463 net jobs, which included 5,136 new jobs in low or zero-carbon motor vehicles
  • Texas gained 30,903 net jobs, which includes 4,858 new jobs in low or zero-carbon motor vehicles, 6,771 new jobs in energy efficiency, and 1,610 new jobs in solar energy 
  • California gained 29,429 energy jobs, including 11,050 new jobs in low or zero-carbon motor vehicles, 5,949 new jobs in energy efficiency, and 1,994 new jobs in solar
  • West Virginia and Pennsylvania added the most jobs in transmission, distribution, and storage, gaining 7,321 (WV) and 5,726 (PA) new jobs


Energy Jobs Still Recovering

Even with the impressive job growth numbers, energy jobs have still not recovered to 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Industries including wind energy, electric vehicles, and hybrid-electric vehicles, had more jobs in 2021 than before the pandemic, but nuclear energy, coal, and petroleum jobs decreased in 2021. 

“The USEER demonstrates that achieving an equitable transition to net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050, with a diverse workforce, will require additional public and private investments in the clean energy sector,” the DOE said. “It will also require commitment from industry to support workers, by creating stable and secure good-paying jobs and investing in education and training programs to help workers, of all backgrounds, advance their clean energy careers.”


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