The U.S. Department of Energy recently released its annual U.S. Energy & Employment Report, a comprehensive summary of national and state-level workforce, industry and hiring information in the energy sector. The report shows that jobs in the energy sector increased by 300,000 (3.8 percent growth), increasing from 7.8 million to more than 8.1 million in 2022. And although the energy sector was significantly impacted by COVID-19 and its economic fallout last year, it recovered 71 percent of the jobs lost in 2020.
Clean Energy Jobs Led Expansion
Jobs in the clean energy sector (solar, wind and electric power generation) led to employment increases, accounting for 84 percent of job growth. Electric power generation jobs added 21,000 positions, while zero-emissions vehicles saw nearly 21 percent job growth, adding more than 38,000 jobs.
Clean energy jobs in every state grew by 3.9 percent nationally year-over-year. Moreover, employers across all technologies report they expect growth from 2022 to 2023, ranging from 1.6 percent in fuels to 6.4 percent in energy efficiency.
Energy Efficiency Details
A total of 2.2 million energy efficiency jobs were recorded at the end of 2022, an increase of 7.4 percent over the previous study. The increase in jobs in the energy efficiency sector as well as in the clean energy sector is fueled in large part by the Biden Administration’s push to invest in the energy sector. The three-pronged approach prioritizes innovation, demonstration and deployment of technologies to reach a net-zero emissions economy no later than 2050 and a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035.
Slower Growth, Impressive Recovery
Though energy efficiency was hit especially hard by the pandemic, resulting in a loss of more than 270,000 jobs, the energy efficiency sector has recovered impressively, adding 163,461 workers, recovering 60.2 percent of the total jobs lost during the pandemic. The sector grew slower last year compared to the overall energy sector growth (2.3 percent versus 3.8) but remains one of the largest energy technology employment sectors.
What It All Means
As clean energy expansion sweeps the nation, employment in the sector is expected to grow substantially. In the energy efficiency sector alone, investment in building energy efficiency – particularly in retrofitting buildings with energy-efficient technologies (including heat pumps and boosting building insulation in older homes and buildings) – could account for significant and sustained job growth in the years to come.
To read the full U.S. Energy & Employment Report 2023, click here.