2012 Many Shades of Green: California’s Shift to a Cleaner, More Productive Economy

New Next 10 report provides a comprehensive, bottom-up accounting of California’s Core Green Economy, systematically tracking the most recent available data on employment and business establishments across California’s green sectors and regions. The state’s Core Green Economy is represented by businesses involved in the clean energy sector, those that provide goods and/or services to conserve natural resources, and those that cut pollution and/or repurpose/recycle. 

From January 2009 to January 2010, the state’s overall economy registered job losses of seven percent. Those losses are more than two times higher than the job losses tracked in the state’s Core Green Economy, which saw a three percent loss in jobs. In the long term, employment in California’s Core Green Economy grew by 53 percent from 1995-2010, while jobs in the wider economy grew by 12 percent.

Manufacturing jobs in California's Core Green Economy shot up 53 percent from 1995 to 2010, while manufacturing jobs on the whole dropped 18 percent. In the near-term, manufacturing jobs in the state's core green economy grew by one percent; in the overall economy, they dropped by eight percent (Jan. 2009 to Jan. 2010).

  • California's overall economy saw seven percent job losses in the near-term (January 2009 to January 2010), while the Core Green Economy fared better in the recession, experiencing three percent job losses.
    • Over the longer-term (1995-2010), California's Core Green Economy grew by 53 percent, while jobs in the wider economy grew by 12 percent over the same time period.
  • The San Diego region, the Bay Area, and the Sacramento area have shown the greatest resilience when it comes to retaining jobs. Each recorded Core Green Economy job losses of less than two percent from January 2009 to January 2010, while the state overall recorded seven percent job losses over the same time period. 
  • Longer-term, between 1995 and 2010, Core Green Economy employment expanded in the Sacramento area by 113 percent and in the Bay Area by 76 percent. The San Diego region (+65%) and Orange County (+62%) also recorded strong Core Green Economy job growth numbers.
  • Manufacturing represents a strong sector in the value chain, accounting for 27 percent of jobs in the Core Green Economy compared to just ten percent in the total economy.
    • Manufacturing in the state’s Core Green Economy expanded by one percent in the shorter term, and by 53 percent from 1995 to Jan. 2010.
  • While employment and business growth varies across the 15 green industry segments, Energy Infrastructure (+14%), Advanced Materials (+4%), Clean Transportation (+1%), and Energy Generation (+1%) bucked recessionary trends, exhibiting growth during the recession from January 2009 to January 2010.
  • Households and businesses that increase efficiencies are reaping financial benefits and helping the state's overall economy achieve greater energy and resource productivity. Products and services developed in the state's Core Green Economy are accelerating and supporting this needed transition.