Many Shades of Green: Diversity and Distribution of California’s Green Jobs

December 1, 2009

Many Shades of Green provides the most comprehensive green jobs accounting to date, systematically tracking the most recent available data on green companies, job type, location and growth across every sector and region of California.


  • Sacramento Area: The statewide leader in green job growth (87%), Sacramento experienced the highest-level employment growth (157%) in air and environment jobs (2.5 x 1995 levels) (pg. 30-31). Energy generation employment grew by 141% (pg. 22).
  • San Francisco Bay Area: The statewide leader in total green jobs (41,674), Bay Area trends include the largest number of energy generation jobs (roughly 7,000). Energy generation grew by 20%, with the high concentration in solar (pg. 23).
  • San Joaquin Valley: Total job growth of 48% with the highest concentration of jobs in wind (p.4). Concentration in alternative fuels three times the state average (page 27). Number of jobs in green transportation grew 211%.
  • Southern California: In the Los Angeles area energy generation jobs grew by 35% (pg. 22). Energy efficiency jobs grew by 77% (p. 25). In Orange County green transportation jobs grew 1,875% including alternative fuels and motor vehicles and equipment. Energy generation jobs grew by 176%.
  • Inland Empire: Energy generation jobs grew by 85% with the highest concentration in solar and wind (pg. 22). Energy efficiency jobs grew by 91% (pg. 25).


  • Between 1995-2008, green businesses increased 45%, green jobs grew 36% while total jobs in the state grew only 13%.
  • Even in rural areas with a smaller economic base, green jobs are growing faster than the overall economy.
  • Between 2007-2008, green jobs grew 5% while total jobs dropped 1%.
  • Services accounted for 45% of all California green jobs, the largest portion in Environmental Consulting.
  • Manufacturing represents 21% of all green jobs, and grew 19% between 1995 and 2008. Half of all manufacturing jobs are split between Energy Efficiency and Energy Generation.
  • With nearly 43,000 jobs in 2008, Air & Environment is the largest of California’s green segments. While this segment’s jobs remained steady, hovering around 35,000 from 1995-2005, since 2005 the number of green jobs in this segment increased 24%.
  • From 1995-2008, Energy Generation employment expanded 61% by nearly 10,000 jobs. Solar makes up the largest portion, and strongest growth (63%.)
  • Employment in Energy Efficiency increased 63% from 1995-2008.
  • Employment in Green Transportation has increased 152% since 1995. Green Transportation Jobs are primarily in Motor Vehicles & Equipment and Alternative Fuels, with the latter growing faster at 201%, and representing 48% of all jobs in this segment.
  • Green Logistics is an emerging field, only in the Bay Area at present, with employment growing by 1,144% since 1995.

The new analysis serves as a companion to Next 10’s Annual California Green Innovation Index (next issue: March 2010) and builds on the Green Business Analysis published in the Index since 2008. Both analyses were conducted by Collaborative Economics, using data from New Energy Finance, Clean Tech GroupTM, LLC, and The National Establishments Time-Series (NETS) database based on Dun & Bradstreet business-unit data.


  • SolarTech_DOE_FOA-0000078_Letter.pdf
  • SolarTech-CalSEIA_Cycle_time_paper_10292009.pdf