Monday, May 16, 2011

Our Green Jobs Research: Looking Backward and Forward

Do you remember our Green Jobs survey? We mentioned it on the blog waaaaay back in 2009, after we conducted the survey and published results. Among other things, the survey indicated that green jobs account for roughly three percent of the Oregon’s non-federal workforce. Employers said more than 51,000 jobs across the state were related to green activities.

Oregon employers also predicted that the number of green jobs would grow 14 percent from 2008 to 2010. Compared with a statewide employment projection of nine percent growth from 2008 to 2018, the double-digit two-year growth projection seemed…optimistic. If employers' predictions were on the mark two years ago, 14 percent growth in green jobs would have equated to 7,400 new jobs, while statewide employment levels actually declined by 140,000 jobs over the same two-year period.

Meanwhile, a number of high-profile announcements in recent years lauded the growth of green jobs in Oregon, especially where those jobs are expected to be at new manufacturing facilities.

But are there green jobs in manufacturing?

According to employers, Oregon's green jobs are much more likely to be found at companies in the natural resources industry (where 1 in 10 jobs are green) than the manufacturing industry (where 1 in 50 jobs are green). Manufacturing companies only accounted for 8 percent of the green jobs identified in the statewide survey.

Employment changes in industries such as natural resources, construction, and utilities may be a better bellwether for green jobs growth than new manufacturing facilities.

What’s next?

As part of our 18-month “Green Grant” we’ve decided to conduct a second iteration of the statewide green jobs survey. Results will be used to measure how green jobs changed in recent years, and to shed some light on where and how green jobs are growing in Oregon. Results of the study will be published in the fall.

For more information, or to see a list of current green job openings, visit

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