Assessment of the Green Economy in the US

A recent report from the Brookings Institution provides a very interesting analysis of the size and rate of growth of the ‘green economy’. In partnership with Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice, Brookings has sought to define, assemble, and analyze a state by state database of green jobs across the US.

Among the reports conclusions:

  • The clean economy, which employs some 2.7 million workers, encompasses a significant number of jobs in establishments spread across a diverse group of industries.
  • The clean economy grew more slowly in aggregate than the national economy between 2003 and 2010, but newer “cleantech” segments produced explosive job gains and the clean economy outperformed the nation during the recession.
  • The clean economy is manufacturing and export intensive.
  • The clean economy offers more opportunities and better pay for low- and middle-skilled workers than the national economy as a whole.
  • Among regions, the South has the largest number of clean economy jobs though the West has the largest share relative to its population.
  • Strong industry clusters boost the growth performance of metropolitan areas in the clean economy.

Recommendations to governments include:

  • Scale up the market by taking steps to catalyze vibrant domestic demand for low-carbon and environmentally-oriented goods and services.
  • Ensure adequate finance by moving to address the serious shortage of affordable, risk-tolerant, and larger-scale capital that now impedes the scale-up of numerous clean economy industry segments.
  • Drive innovation by investing both more and differently in the clean economy innovation system.
  • Focus on regions, meaning that all parties need to place detailed knowledge of local industry dynamics and regional growth strategies near the center of efforts to advance the clean economy.

This very interesting analysis of the potential for green jobs, including the full report, an executive summary, video, and detailed data, can be found at http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2011/0713_clean_economy.aspx

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