Rising employment in clean energy led the 3.8% jobs growth in the U.S. energy sector in 2022, when the industry outpaced the overall U.S. rise in employment, the annual report by the Department of Energy showed on Wednesday.
Last year, the U.S. energy workforce added nearly 300,000 jobs, at a 3.8% growth rate, which exceeded the 3.1% growth rate of the overall U.S. workforce, according to the 2023 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER).
The number of clean energy jobs rose in every state and grew by 3.9% nationally in 2022.
Battery electric vehicles were the fastest-growing technology in terms of job creation, as employment increased by 28,366 jobs, or by 27%, in 2022 compared to 2021. The jobs growth in BEV was almost 17 times faster than the increase in gasoline and diesel vehicle employment, according to DOE’s report, which is based on surveys of tens of thousands of U.S. energy sector employers.
Coal, natural gas, and oil also saw double-digit growth in employment last year compared to 2021. The number of jobs in natural gas jumped by 24% and gained 51,100 jobs, those in coal fuel rose by 22%, and the number of jobs in petroleum rose by 13%, adding 58,100 jobs.
Most of the growth in the fuels sector was within the mining and extraction industry, which added 107,029 jobs over the year, the report showed.
Offshore wind with 20% growth and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at 25% jobs growth also posted double-digit increases in employment last year.
For this year, employers across all technologies report they expect growth from 2022, and expectations range from 1.6% in fuels to 6.4% in energy efficiency.
The Biden Administration expects recent legislation, namely the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, to further boost clean jobs growth in the United States.
However, despite the higher skill requirements in most cases, jobs in renewables aren’t paying more than high-carbon jobs, which “is problematic for attracting workers into low-carbon jobs,” a study by London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute found earlier this year.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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