The energy sector is driving job growth, but not where you think.
Wind, gas, and storage jobs are all increasing in the energy sector, but the fastest employment growth isn’t coming from the supply side, according to the 2018 U.S. Energy and Employment Report. It’s energy efficiency that’s creating the most opportunities, the new analysis concludes in an examination of four energy-focused sectors of the U.S. economy.
The traditional energy and energy efficiency sectors, which employ about 6.5 million Americans, saw a 2% increase in jobs in 2017, or about 133,000 new positions, according to the report. A closer look at the numbers reveals they largely mirror utility sector trends, with growth focused on the advanced energy sector.
One exception is the solar sector. It lost 24,000 jobs — about 6% of the workforce — as the industry installed about 30% less in 2017 than it had the year before.
The “traditional energy sector” is made up of generation and fuels production, along with transmission, distribution, and storage; the report also looks at the energy efficiency and motor vehicle sectors.
Growth in the traditional energy and efficiency sectors made up 7% of all jobs created in the United States last year. But while the overall national employment numbers are strong, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, founder of the grid-edge think tank Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), believes states will remain the “focal points for solutions to many of the challenges in the energy transformation.”