California Adds More than 40K Green Jobs Since 1995, Report Finds

California Adds More than 40K Green Jobs Since 1995, Report Finds

With an annual increase of 2.4 percent per year, jobs in a wide number of green areas have far outpaced employment rates in other industries, according to a new study by Next 10.

The study, "Many Shades of Green: Diversity and Distribution of California's Green Jobs," looked at the state of green jobs in the Golden State from 1995 to 2008 and found 45 percent growth in the number of green businesses in that time, and 36 percent growth in overall employment in green fields. The state's reservoir of green jobs grew from 117,000 in 1995 to 159,000 in 2008, the report's authors found.

"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," F. Noel Perry, the founder of Next 10, the nonprofit that produced the report, said in a statement. "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."

The research found some regions of the state fared better than others, and each region developed a niche market for different green jobs. The Sacramento area was the clear leader in job growth, with an 87 percent improvement since 1995; San Diego found a 57 percent growth in green jobs in that timeframe, and the San Francisco Bay Area and the Orange County / Inland Empire region grew by 51 and 50 percent, respectively.

Sacramento was a hotspot for jobs in biomass energy generation, while the Bay Area led in energy research and consulting jobs; the San Diego region ranked highly in a number of areas, but was the overall leader in jobs in co-generation technologies.

Other highlights from the report include the news that green jobs grew by 5 percent during the 2007-2008 year during the economic downturn that sent the rest of the state's employment rate down by 1 percent. The bulk of the green jobs found in the report are in the services and manufacturing sectors, making up 45 and 21 percent of all such green jobs. Environmental consulting was a leading green job in the state.

The full report is available for download from GreenBiz.com; more details about the report are available at NextTen.org.