The first of the two reports from the US Department of Commerce, “Measuring the Green Economy,” provides an important initial step toward measuring the size and composition of the emerging green economy and the number of green jobs it has created. By using publicly-available data on more than 20,000 products and services, the report shows that the green economy is well-poised for growth.
Green products and services comprised 1% to 2% of the total private business economy in 2007. The lower estimate is based on a narrow definition of products and services over which there would likely be little debate about their classification as green.
Employment generated by the production of green products and services is assumed to result in green jobs. According to the survey, the number of green jobs ranged from 1.8 million, using the narrow definition to 2.4 million using a broader definition.
The services sector accounted for roughly three-fourths of green business activity; manufacturing accounted for about 13%. Construction and agriculture made up the remaining share.
Energy and resource conservation and pollution control accounted for the predominant share of green business activities, making up about 80% to 90% of green shipments/receipts and employment. Renewable/alternative energy and environmental assessments accounted for a smaller share.
Between 2002 and 2007, the share of green shipments and green jobs in manufacturing remained fairly constant, ranging between 0.9% and 1.3%. Green manufacturing jobs fell over this period as did jobs in all manufacturing.
The green economy is in a position to grow quickly, but the relatively small size of the green economy suggests that a majority of the jobs that will be created during this recovery are likely to come from the production of products and services outside of the green economy.
Photo from Creative Commons: Flickr: skitzitilby