Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Oregon’s Energy Efficiency Sector

The energy efficiency sector, as identified by the Oregon Green Jobs Council, includes firms involved in weatherization projects and energy efficiency construction. Employment Department analysts identified 750 energy efficiency and weatherization companies in Oregon.

Employment and Wages

The vast majority of jobs in the energy efficiency sector are in the construction (74%) and trade (21%) industries. The remaining jobs are distributed among employers in education and health services, manufacturing, natural resources, and professional and business services.

As the table below shows, two-thirds of workers in the energy efficiency sector are employed at firms with less than 100 employees. Total private employment tends to be more evenly distributed between medium and large employers, with roughly half of employment at firms with less than 100 employees.

People working in this sector have higher wages, on average, than the economy as a whole. Roughly two-thirds of employees in this sector earned at least $20 per hour, compared with about one-third of all private employees. The median hourly wage for the energy efficiency and weatherization sector was $24.93 during the fourth quarter of 2009, while the median wage for all private employees was $15.70.

Recessionary Impacts?

Employment in the energy efficiency sector outperformed similar industries and the economy as a whole during the five-year period from the fourth quarter of 2004 to the fourth quarter of 2009. However, the sector experienced drastic declines in both employment and wages over the one-year period ending in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with the rest of the economy. This likely indicates that the sector experienced significant growth during the housing boom. Energy efficiency firms, like other employers in the construction and trade industries, were hit especially hard by the Great Recession.

Want to know more about this industry sector? Get all the details in the full article, written by Charlie Johnson (

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