On March 22, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) (the principal fact-finding agency for the federal government in the areas of labor economics and statistics that also serves as a statistical resource to the U.S. Department of Labor) released a report focusing on green jobs as an increasing part of our economy. The report, which took over one year to compile and is based on figures from 2010, indicates that there are 3.1 million American jobs “associated with the production of green goods and services.” This accounts for 2.4% of total U.S. employment in 2010.
According to the BLS, in 2010 there were 2.3 million GGS jobs in the private sector, and 860,300 in the public sector. Perhaps most interesting aspect of the report is that, while the U.S. has largely transitioned to a service based economy, manufacturing accounted for 461,800 GGS jobs (the most of any private sector industries). Not too surprisingly, California was found to have the largest number of GGS jobs, with 338,400 GGS jobs in 2010. Washington was ranked fifth, with 91,906 GGS jobs in 2010.
While it is not free of controversy, the BLS report defines “Green Goods and Services” (“GGS”) jobs as those “found in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.” According to the BLS, this definition contains two components, “an out-put based approach and an process-based approach.” The BLS explains that “output based jobs are jobs associated with producing goods or providing services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.” On the other hand, “process-based jobs are jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.” The March 22 report represents the first of its kind, and solely covers the output approach. A report covering the production approach will be released later this year.