Government report finds huge growth in green energy jobs

Innovation in the cleantech sector, while not necessarily new, is still gaining steam. Renewable sources of cleaner energy including solar, wind and biofuel have earned greater acceptance and support in the face of environmental concerns and the trend toward more sustainable practices and energy sourcing. As such, jobs in the industry still only make up a modest portion of total employment. However, a new federal report found they were growing faster than any other kind of job, making renewable energy recruiters immensely valuable for startups in the market for cleantech talent.

Total green jobs reach 3.4 million in 2011
According to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 3.4 million green goods and services jobs in the country during 2011. While such positions only accounted for 2.3 percent of all private sector employment and 4.2 percent of the public sector workforce during the same year, BLS data noted green jobs were growing at the fastest rate in the country.

Between 2010 and 2011, the only two years studied by the BLS, green employment rose 4.9 percent, well outpacing overall jobs growth (1.2 percent) and the rates of other burgeoning industries in jobs creation, including restaurants (2.7 percent), manufacturing (1.7 percent) and healthcare (1.8 percent).

Green goods and service employment, as defined by the BLS, occurs in a number of different sectors and industries, with such jobs being related to renewable energy production, conservation, education and outreach efforts or environmental regulation compliance training.

In the private sector, manufacturing accounted for the largest portion of green jobs, with 508,168 positions in 2011, an uptick of 14,000 from the year before. Construction saw the biggest year-over-year jump in jobs from 2010, with green employment increasing by more than 100,000 between the two years. With eco jobs being created in a wide breadth of businesses, manufacturing recruiters can help firms acquire the top environmentally focused talent.

Likewise, Chicago recruiters can help Illinois-based companies find workers for new green positions. While California led the country's eco employment with 360,000 positions in 2011, Illinois placed sixth behind California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Total employment in the state during 2011 registered around 136,000 positions, growing by 2.5 percent between 2010 and 2011.

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