Clean Energy Unemployment Claims in COVID-19 Aftermath, November 2020
**This memo has been revised and is available here. The numbers presented in the original Dec. 8, 2020 memo are based on data issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Dec. 4, 2020. An update to that data was made by the BLS in the Feb. 5, 2021 Employment Situation report**
The U.S. clean energy sector added 7,900 jobs in November, leaving 446,000 clean energy workers out of work since February of this year – a 13 percent decline over pre-COVID-19 employment levels, according according to the latest analysis of federal unemployment filings prepared for E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), E4TheFuture and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) by BW Research Partnership
While the nation’s overall jobs recovery has stalled over the last several months, the clean energy sector has been particularly slow. Concerns raised in memoranda from prior months continue, including record-breaking levels of new and continuing unemployment claims and the exhaustion of many programs from earlier stimulus.
While November represents the sixth straight month of job growth for the industry after three months of devastating job losses, seven out of 10 clean energy workers who lost their jobs since the beginning of the crisis remain out of work. With November’s meager job growth, employment in clean energy — once the nation’s fastest-growing job sector — has grown by less than half a percent four of the last five months.
Clean energy businesses created about 190,000 new jobs nationwide from 2018-2020, and employers projected more than 175,000 jobs would be added in 2020 heading into the year, according to the 2020 U.S. Energy & Employment Report (USEER) employer survey. But at the rate of recovery seen since June, it would take about three years for the clean energy sector to reach pre-COVID employment levels and an additional 14 months to reach the levels of clean energy employment projected for 2020 before the pandemic struck.
At the start of 2020, nearly 3.4 million Americans across all 50 states and the District of Columbia worked in clean energy occupations, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization, clean vehicles and fuels.
By Industry Job Losses, November 2020
|Grid & Storage||-6,517||-19,666||-1,166||+4,561||+428||+482||+510||+1,042||+336||-19,990|
States With The Most Total Job Losses, November 2020
|State||Total Losses||Percent of Clean Energy Workforce|
For a full breakdown of clean energy jobs losses in each state, download the full analysis 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).