REPORT: Energy Efficiency Led US Energy Job Growth in 2019 and is a Best Bet to Lead Sector’s Recovery in 2021

Energy efficiency — which led U.S. energy-sector job growth in 2019, growing to employ nearly 2.4 million Americans before the pandemic-fueled crisis — is a best bet to drive the energy sector’s recovery in 2021, according to a new analysis released today by E4TheFuture and the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). Energy efficiency employed 28% of all U.S. energy workers in 2019.

US Energy Jobs

2020 Energy Efficiency Jobs in America found energy efficiency jobs grew 2.3% in 2019 – about twice the rate of nationwide employment growth (1.2%). Among the states, nine saw efficiency jobs increase by over 4%, led by New Mexico (8.2%), Nevada (7.5%), Colorado (5.1%), Louisiana (5.0%), and New Jersey (4.9%). California led efficiency employment with 323,500 jobs, followed by Texas (169,400), New York (126,700), Florida (123,600), and Illinois (91,000).

From 2016 to 2019, energy efficiency added nearly 200,000 new jobs, and the sector was projected to add another 71,000 in 2020. But the COVID-19 crisis derailed those gains, and close to 321,900 energy efficiency workers — about 13.5% of the workforce — remain jobless as of October. The industry could quickly recover these jobs and reap even bigger growth with federal leadership. According to a separate stimulus analysis from E4TheFuture and E2 that is highlighted in the new report, energy efficiency could create over 700,000 jobs per year for five years from $61 billion in federal stimulus targeting energy efficiency priorities.

Efficiency businesses added 54,000 net new jobs in 2019, accounting for 42% of all net jobs added by America’s energy sector (151,700). The sector also employed about twice the number of workers in 2019 as all fossil fuel industries combined (1.2 million). In fact, in 41 states and the District of Columbia, more Americans worked in energy efficiency than in fossil fuels in 2019.

Energy efficiency jobs include positions in manufacturing, such as making Energy Star appliances, efficient windows and doors and LED lighting systems. They include jobs in construction, such as retrofitting buildings, offices and schools to make them more efficient. And they include jobs at heating, ventilation and air conditioning companies that upgrade outdated inefficient HVAC systems, boilers, ductwork and other equipment.

Energy efficiency jobs aren’t limited by geography or political persuasion. Efficiency pros work in every state and virtually every county in America, the report shows.

Pat Stanton, Policy Director for E4TheFuture said:

“Greatly expanding energy efficiency efforts benefits America’s business, labor, and environmental interests alike. It saves companies and families money, creates local jobs at a rate no other segment of the energy sector can match, and is essential to achieving President-elect Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electric grid by 2035. Energy efficiency is perfectly positioned to rebuild our economy quickly while also improving our environment.”

Sandra Purohit, Director of Federal Advocacy of E2 said:

“COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on our economy. We need action now to support recovery and growth.  Energy efficiency is a bipartisan issue and it benefits every state in the country. Help get the more than 300,00 unemployed energy efficiency workers back on the job and in return they’ll help get our economy back on track.”

More detailed findings of energy efficiency jobs for all 50 states and the District of Columbia – including job totals for every congressional and legislative district, industry and technology breakdowns, and maps of every state’s top counties — are at https://ee.e4thefuture.org. A set of FAQs about the report is here.

By the numbers:

  • 29% of energy efficiency workers are Hispanic or Latino, Asian, or Black.
  • 87% of energy efficiency workers are under 55
  • Entry-level wages in all sectors of energy efficiency well exceed the national average
  • 17 states employ more than 50,000 workers and 30 states are home to at least 20,000 energy efficiency workers
  • Construction and manufacturing make up about 70% of U.S. energy efficiency jobs
  • More than 1 in every 6 U.S. construction workers spends 50% or more of their time on energy efficiency (1.3 million workers)
  • 325,300 energy efficiency jobs are in manufacturing

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