Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some Not-So-Bad News

As dismal as the employment numbers are in California, there is one sector that appears to be picking up: green jobs. Although the most current data is from 2008, that data did show some badly needed growth.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Employers offering jobs in fields such as solar power generation, electric vehicle development, environmental consultation and more added 5,000 jobs in 2008. About 174,000 Californians were working in eco-friendly fields by early 2009, compared with 111,000 in 1995, said nonprofit research group Next 10. ...

The so-called green workforce expanded 3% from January 2008 to January 2009 -– three times the growth of overall employment around the state. Standouts include the energy-generation sector, which includes renewable-energy efforts such as wind and hydropower.

"There's very few business sectors that can employ people across every region, especially in a state as big as California," said entrepreneur F. Noel Perry, who founded Next 10. "Green is providing a very solid foundation for future growth."

Perry credited state policies -- such as renewable-energy mandates and incentives for energy efficiency -- for supporting the "green economy."
[Emphasis added]

While some sectors lagged (the retrofitting of buildings for energy efficiency got hit by the real estate down-swing), there was measurable growth in most, which means there were new jobs and hiring.

Key to the growth were the various policies of Arnold Schwarzenegger which emphasized green growth. Yes, he did do some things right, as did the state legislature. What would have helped further (and not just in California) were similar policies and incentives on the federal level. Since one of the current mantras of the GOP is to end "job-killing" programs, perhaps Republican leaders can be persuaded to go positive by finding the money to grow jobs by funding research and development for the next generation of alternative energy sources and energy efficiency and by funding job training for workers in the new industries.

I am not holding my breath.

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