More than 100,000 US clean energy jobs announced in 2012

The cleantech movement is fundamentally changing the way Americans approach energy. While oil and gas will still be crucial energy sources in the future, clean energy like solar, wind and biofuel are becoming more common sources of power. As such, projects and startups in cleantech are turning into leading job creators.

A new study on job growth in cleantech last year reinforced this trend after an environmental advocacy group released a report detailing the new heights of job growth in cleantech achieved last year. With more clean energy firms in the market for talent to fill open positions, renewable energy recruiters are becoming valuable partners in talent searches.

California leads job creation, Illinois not far behind
According to a report on clean energy projects and jobs in 2012 by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), U.S. businesses announced more than 300 clean energy and clean transportation projects last year that led to more than 110,000 jobs.

California far outpaced the other 49 states by adding 26,354 jobs last year, while North Carolina ranked second with 10,867 jobs. The latter state's advances in clean energy job growth have been well-documented recently, and created 7,600 jobs in the fourth quarter alone thanks to a large-scale light rail construction initiative.

The recent report was also great news for Chicago recruiters, as Illinois ranked fourth in terms of clean energy job creation, with 6,618 new positions. Florida placed third with 8,659 and Connecticut rounded out the top five with 4,958.

"It's now crystal-clear that clean energy and clean transportation are helping our economy recover," said Judith Albert, executive director of E2, a nationwide network of business leaders who champion environmental policies. "The projects and job announcements like we saw in 2012 can continue – as long as we don't let smart energy policies get hijacked by special interests."

Southeast makes a name for itself
E2 found that while the West coast remains a hotbed for cleantech investment and innovation, the Southeast states, buoyed in large part by North Carolina's dedication to the sector, actually led the country in terms of manufacturing-related clean energy jobs with more than 13,7000 jobs announced in the region last year; about 80 percent of the national total.

The report found lean transportation projects led in jobs growth during 2012, followed by clean power generation, manufacturing and energy efficiency. The burgeoning cleantech sector is quickly gaining a reputation as a key jobs creator, in order for firms to continue growing, they can work with renewable energy recruiters to acquire the best talent.