Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On-line ads for green jobs indicate they are no panacea

Green jobs are enigmatic at best. They are hard to define, and often difficult to distinguish. Green jobs do in fact exist, but they are not a new phenomenon nor are they limited to working only at flashy solar manufacturing facilities. Sometimes they are good jobs but they are not always the best jobs available. And, despite the hopes of many, there are not nearly enough of them to cure Oregon's employment woes.

On-line ads for job openings have become the new norm (replacing the ol' Help Wanted section of the newspaper), so it is a relatively safe assumption that they represent most of Oregon's job openings at any given time. When the total number of on-line job ads increases, the state's employment level tends to follow the next month.

During the first week of August 2010 there were roughly 350 active green job ads on-line, compared with 19,310 ads for all jobs. The disparity between the count of on-line job postings for all jobs and green jobs makes a direct comparison difficult. However, an examination of the trend in active postings compared to the four-year average indicates that on-line ads for green jobs shrank slightly faster during the onset of the recession but have grown faster than for all jobs since early 2009. Visually:

On-line green jobs ads show a mixed picture of current hiring trends. On one hand, green job ads have been growing slightly faster than ads for all jobs for a little more than a year. On the other hand, compared with ads for all jobs, fewer of the green job ads are new ads. This indicates that green positions are being filled at a slightly slower pace than other jobs.

Green jobs may work to do a lot of good things, but no matter how the data is interpreted one fact remains: green jobs make up a very small portion of the workforce and account for an even smaller portion of the jobs being advertised on-line over the past few years.

For more info, please see the full article, written by our Green Jobs Economist (and former blogger) Charlie Johnson ( More "green" info is available on our main website at

No comments: