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U.S. Energy Employment Rises Despite Loss In Fossil Fuel Jobs

The number of U.S. jobs in fossil fuels dropped in 2021, but overall American employment in the energy sector increased by 4 percent last year, outpacing the growth in overall U.S. employment and led by job additions in the EV and hybrid vehicle-making sector, the 2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) showed on Tuesday.

Last year, the U.S. energy sector added more than 300,000 jobs, and total employment in the industry grew to over 7.8 million in 2021. Energy jobs grew faster than the U.S. workforce overall, which rose by 2.8 percent in 2021, according to the report.

Jobs in net-zero aligned areas numbered 3,086,467 jobs, making up 41 percent of total energy jobs in 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy said in its report. Jobs in the solar and wind sectors rose last year, while the number of jobs in coal and nuclear power fell. Those were the only two sectors in the electric power generation sector with fewer jobs in 2021 compared to 2020.

The fuels sector lost 29,271 jobs in 2021, with fossil fuel jobs accounting for most of the fuel jobs lost, the report found. Jobs in petroleum—both onshore and offshore—led losses, shedding 31,593 jobs, or falling by 6.4 percent. Coal fuel jobs declined by the greatest percentage, losing 7,125 jobs and decreasing by 11.8 percent. Fuel extraction jobs overall decreased by 12 percent. However, employment in biofuels grew by 6.7 percent, adding 1,180 jobs.   

Fuels was the only energy technology category that contracted in 2021, driven by companies’ reductions in extraction jobs, the Department of Energy said. Manufacturing jobs, on the other hand, showed the biggest increases, with motor vehicles contributing the most new jobs.

Jobs in carbon-reducing motor vehicles and component parts technologies jumped by 25 percent, led 19.7-percent growth in new jobs in hybrid electric vehicles and 26.2-percent growth in electric vehicles jobs. Jobs in electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, and hybrid vehicles were among the only subcategories of any type of energy jobs that rose in numbers from 2019 to 2021 and that did not decrease from 2019 to 2020.   

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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