Nearly 600,000 U.S. clean clean energy workers have lost their jobs since March after 447,208 new workers filed unemployment claims in April, according to the latest analysis of unemployment data by BW Research for E2, E4TheFuture, and the American Council on Renewable Energy.
The analysis of Department of Labor data found that 594,347 workers in clean energy occupations, representing 17.8% of the industry’s workforce, filed for unemployment benefits in April and March. The number of jobs lost is more than double the number of clean energy jobs created since 2017. Before March, clean energy had been one of the U.S. economy’s biggest and fastest-growing employment sectors, growing 10.4% since 2015 to 3.4 million jobs at the end of 2019. That made clean energy by far the biggest employer of workers in all energy occupations, employing nearly three times as many people as the fossil fuel industry.
The job losses are across a wide variety of occupations, and in every state. Energy efficiency workers are losing their jobs after being shut out of homes and buildings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Solar and wind turbine companies are laying off workers as they’re unable to access panels and parts stranded in shut-down factories and as financing disappears. Factory workers are being let go as assembly lines for Energy Star appliances and electric and hybrid vehicles are ground to a halt.
By Industry Job Losses, April 2020
|Sector||March Claims (adj*)||April Claims||Total Claims|
|Grid & Storage||6,517||19,685||26,202|
State With Most Job Losses, April 2020
|State||March Claims (adj.*)||April Claims||Total Claims|
For a full breakdown of clean energy jobs losses in each state, see the full analysis here.
The complete report is available for download at this link.
A live press conference was held announcing the report’s findings on May 13, featuring:
- Bob Keefe, executive director, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2);
- Pat Stanton, director of policy, E4TheFuture;
- Gregory Wetstone, president & CEO, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE);
- Phil Jordan, vice-president and principal, BW Research;
To download and listen to the one-hour press conference, click here.
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The analysis expands on data from the 2020 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) produced by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), using data collected and analyzed by the BW Research Partnership. The report was released in March 2020 and is available at www.usenergyjobs.org. E2 is a partner on the USEER, the fifth installment of the energy survey first released by the Department of Energy in 2016 and subsequently abandoned under the Trump administration. Clean energy jobs have grown every year since the first report was released in 2016.
If you are looking for additional insight into this report or E2’s more than a dozen other annual clean energy employment reports, visit e2.org/reports. You can also contact E2 Communications Director Michael Timberlake (firstname.lastname@example.org).