<< The July unemployment analysis was revised up to 10,400 on September 11, 2020 and is available here >>
The U.S. clean energy sector added just 3,200 jobs in July, signaling the sector’s surge of workers returning in June was short-lived, according to the latest analysis of unemployment data by BW Research for E2, E4TheFuture, and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).
The 0.1% increase in jobs still leaves over half a million (511,075) clean energy workers out of work despite nationwide re-openings – about 15 percent of the sector’s workforce before the COVID-19 outbreak. While July represents the second straight month of job growth for the industry after three months of devastating job losses, fewer than 10 states saw 100-plus clean energy employees return to work and at the current pace it would take nearly 15 years for the U.S. clean energy sector to reach pre-COVID-19 employment levels.
The new analysis also does little to alleviate long-term concerns for the industry. In addition to continued high unemployment, casual or paused re-openings, and the exhaustion of many programs from earlier stimulus, long-term and permanent unemployment has risen sharply to more than 4.4 million as initial weekly unemployment claims continue at historic pace.
Only one out of every six clean energy jobs lost since March returned in June and July, and as federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds are exhausted and states are forced to close businesses again in the face of COVID-19’s resurgence, more layoffs could be imminent without congressional action.
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.
By Industry Job Losses, July 2020
|Grid & Storage||-6,517||-19,666||-1,166||4,561||132||-22,656|
States With Most Job Losses, July 2020
|STATE||TOTAL CLAIMS||Percent of Pre-COVID19 Workforce Unemployed|
For a full breakdown of clean energy jobs losses in each state, download the full analysis 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.
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).