CA Green Job & Business Growth Significantly Outpace Rest of CA Economy

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Sacramento, CA — New data released today shows that California green businesses have increased 45 percent in number and 36 percent in employment from 1995 to 2008 while total jobs in California expanded only 13 percent. As the economy slowed between 2007 and 2008, total employment fell 1 percent, but green jobs continued to grow five percent. The Sacramento Area led the pack with job growth of 87 percent from 1995 to 2008, followed by the San Diego Region (57 percent), the Bay Area (51 percent), and Orange County and Inland Empire (50 percent).

Many Shades of Green: Diversity and Distribution of California’s Green Jobs, released by the nonpartisan Next 10 and Collaborative Economics, 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.

“Data show that green sector businesses are taking root across every region of California, generating jobs across a wide spectrum of skill levels and earnings potential,” said F. Noel Perry, founder of Next 10. “While green jobs clearly cannot solve the state’s current unemployment challenges, over time these jobs could become a growing portion of total jobs in California.”

“Market certainty provided by California’s forward thinking policies combined with ingenuity and the pioneering spirit has put California ahead of the green technology pack. As global demand for these technologies increases, driven by rising fuel prices and policy, so too will our widely dispersed green economy,” according to Perry.

While the absolute numbers of green jobs are not large, they are comparable to the biotech and software sectors, according to the report.

Highlights of California’s Core Green Economy:

  • Between 1995-2008, green businesses increased 45 percent, green jobs grew 36 percent while total jobs in the state grew only 13 percent.
  • 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 percent while total jobs dropped one percent.
  • Manufacturing represents 21 percent of all green jobs, and grew 19 percent, while manufacturing represents only 11 percent of all jobs in California (January 2008.)
  • Half of all manufacturing jobs are split between Energy Efficiency and Energy Generation.
  • Services accounted for 45 percent of all California green jobs, the largest portion in Environmental Consulting.
  • 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 has increased 24 percent.
  • From 1995-2008, Energy Generation employment expanded 61 percent by nearly 10,000 jobs. Solar makes up the largest portion, and strongest growth (63 percent).
  • Employment in Energy Efficiency increased 63 percent from 1995-2008.
  • Employment in Green Transportation has increased 152 percent since 1995. Green Transportation Jobs are primarily in Motor Vehicles & Equipment and Alternative Fuels, with the latter growing faster at 201 percent, and representing 48 percent of all jobs in this segment.
  • Green Logistics is an emerging field, only in the Bay Area at present, with employment growing by 1144 percent since 1995.

Regional Highlights:

  • The Sacramento Area led the pack with green job growth of 87 percent.
  • The San Joaquin Valley green jobs concentration in alternative fuels is three times the state average.
  • The Bay Area had the largest number of energy generation jobs (roughly 7,000).
  • Los Angeles energy efficiency jobs grew by 77 percent.
  • Orange County green transportation jobs grew 1,875 percent including alternative fuels and motor vehicles and equipment.
  • Inland Empire energy generation jobs grew by 85 percent with high concentrations in solar and wind.

“California is home to companies driving technological advances in clean energy products and services,” said Collaborative Economics CEO Doug Henton. “Green technology has the potential to do for energy, the world’s largest sector by revenue, what IT did for communications. As a first mover, we are well positioned to capture the fast emerging multibillion-dollar global green market.”

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.

Perry and Henton publicly unveiled the findings of Many Shades of Green: Diversity and Distribution of California’s Green Jobs report today at California State University, Sacramento during a Next 10 and California Workforce Investment Board Green Jobs Conference.