Nearly 600,000 Clean Energy Jobs Lost in the US due to Pandemic: Report

A new report has revealed that April saw at least 447,200 new clean energy jobs lost, bringing the total to 594,300 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Clean Energy Jobs US

A report tracking the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on US employment has revealed that April brought clean energy job losses triple those seen in March, for an estimated 447,200 new clean energy jobs lost. This totals 594,300 clean energy jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic, or a 17 percent drop in clean energy employment. The cumulative losses represent more than double the past 3 years of industry-wide clean energy employment growth, now erased.

The report by BW Research Partnership further added that the due to updates in reported March employment statistics, the estimated 106,400 clean energy jobs lost during March has been revised up to 147,100 jobs. However, these impacts do not include many temporarily furloughed or underemployed workers.

Dependent on back-to-work orders, job losses in clean energy will likely continue to grow into the coming months but at a decreasing rate, the report stated.

The report reveals since the stay-at-home orders have been extended and non-essential work has been shut down, job losses are being seen more comprehensively across the economy, in industries like healthcare services, manufacturing, and retail trade. Clean energy related manufacturing plants that produce everything from electric vehicles and batteries to efficiency appliances, building materials, high-efficiency lighting equipment, and solar panels and wind turbine parts also were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Residential construction and specialty trade contracting has also seen increased declines, bringing energy efficiency work to a crawl. As a result, clean energy companies began expanding furloughs and layoffs, which created a glut of unemployment filings among clean energy workers throughout the course of April.

“Our previous projection of a half-million or 15 percent of all clean energy jobs lost by the end of June has already been surpassed. Based on that analysis, along with forecasts from clean energy trade groups and reports from individual companies, we conservatively project that the clean energy sector will lose about a quarter of its workforce or 850,000 jobs by the end of the second quarter if no actions are taken to support the clean energy industry and its workers,” the report stated.

California had the largest number of layoffs, losing 77,900 jobs or 15 percent of its clean energy workforce in this month’s continued round of pandemic impacts. Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Michigan have all lost more than 20,000 clean energy jobs each. Georgia, Kentucky, Hawaii, and Louisiana saw the largest declines in terms of percent of their respective clean energy sectors, all with more than 20 percent employment drops over the past month. Georgia saw a significant shift from March where it fared among the best. States that have fared better than average in April include South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Utah all falling less than 7 percent.

Sector Wise Roundup:

  • The report also detailed that Energy efficiency, the largest clean energy sector, had the most job losses in April, shedding about 310,200 jobs or almost 14 percent. This represents 7 out of every 10 clean energy jobs lost over the past month.
  • And the renewable electric power generation was also hard hit, losing nearly 71,800 jobs which represents a nearly 13 percent drop in employment. This accounts for 16 percent of the April clean energy job losses. Renewable electric power generation has lost 95,600 jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Electric vehicles and clean transmission, distribution, and storage both lost about 14 percent of their workforces over the month of April. This represents 35,100 and 19,700 lost jobs in April, respectively. The complete impact of the pandemic on clean vehicles and clean transmission, distribution, and storage totals 46,500 and 26,200 lost jobs thus far.
  • Clean fuels lost 10,400 jobs over April, representing a 10 percent employment decline. This represents less than 3 percent of clean energy job losses over April. Clean fuels have lost 12,600 jobs since the start of March.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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