US energy efficiency sector added 67,000 new jobs in 2017 but new jobs in solar declined

The American energy sector added 133,000 new jobs in 2017, 67,000 of them created by energy efficiency employers, according to the 2018 US Energy & Employment Report (USEER).
US energy efficiency sector added 67,000 new jobs in 2017 but new jobs in solar declined

US energy employed a total of 6.5 million Americans last year, up by 133,000 jobs from the previous year, according to a comprehensive report released last week by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). This two percent growth rate exceeded the national average of 1.7 percent, accounting for nearly 7 percent of all new jobs across the country in 2017.

Energy efficiency employers created the most new energy jobs of the four sectors, adding a net 67,000 new jobs. However, jobs in the solar energy sector declined by 24,000 - the first net job loss since solar jobs were first collated in 2010.

The most surprising statistic was the decline in jobs in alternative fuels’ vehicles, to 220,000 from 259,000 a year earlier. This decline coincided with a significant increase in the sales of plug-in and electric vehicles which increased by over 25 percent in 2017 in the US. However, American manufactured plug-in and hybrid vehicles declined while all electrics and foreign-manufactured plug-in sales increased, thereby reducing US jobs.

The 2018 US Energy & Employment Report (USEER) is the third instalment of the energy jobs survey established by the US Department of Energy in 2016. The Energy Futures Initiative and NASEO secured private funding to continue the report in 2018. It was previously issued by the Department of Energy.

Over the last three years: the most surprising finding has been the sustained growth of energy efficiency jobs. Since no one had studied this industry before with a direct survey, this report provided the first-ever look at what’s going on with how businesses are trying to embrace these new technologies. They have certifiably flattened electricity demand, driven greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, made American manufacturers more competitive, and created millions of jobs.

Image: Smart energy engineer installing a new smart meter

For additional information:

2018 US Energy and Employment Report (USEER)

Energy Futures Initiative (EFI)

National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

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