Clean Energy Unemployment Claims in COVID-19 Aftermath, March 2020

More than 106,000 clean energy workers lost their jobs in the month of March alone, wiping out all the job gains in renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean vehicles and other clean energy sectors in 2019, according to an analysis of unemployment data by BW Research for E2.

The March layoffs were just the first indication of how badly the clean energy industry has been hit by the COVID-19 and economic crises. Much bigger job cuts are expected in the months ahead—making it imperative that Congress and state lawmakers seek ways to get the industry back on its feet, especially since clean energy has a proven history of helping pull the country out of economic crises.

What had been one the nation’s fastest-growing jobs sectors at the start of the year by March was experiencing significant job losses every week.

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.

Industry Job Losses, March 2020

  • Energy Efficiency – 69,800 job losses
  • Renewable Energy – 16,500 job losses
  • Clean Vehicles – 12,300 job losses
  • Grid & Clean Storage – 4,300 job losses
  • Clean Fuels – 3,400 job losses
  • ALL US Clean Energy Sectors – 106,472

Download

The complete report is available for download at this link.

Listen

A live press conference was held announcing the report’s findings on April 15, featuring:

  • Bob Keefe, executive director, 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.

Looking for More Info?

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 (mtimberlake@e2.org).

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