economic news | by nate talley, economist
State of Utah Green Jobs Survey Revisited
Trendlines readers might remember the article entitled ‘State of Utah Green Jobs Survey’ published in our January/February 2011 issue, which detailed the Department of Workforce Services’ (DWS) effort to measure the incidence and prevalence of green jobs in Utah. That article can be referenced for a detailed overview of survey methodology and our definition of ‘green’. Otherwise, a few elements of the DWS Green Jobs Survey that will aid in the consumption of this article are as follows: as part of the Rocky Mountain Northern Plains green job consortium, DWS administered a Green Jobs survey to over 11,000 Utah establishments during the 2nd quarter of 2010. Employers across all industries, size classes and state geographies were surveyed, and activities belonging to six green economic categories were captured.
Nearly 6,000 Utah businesses were found to be involved in green activities during the survey period. Of those, it is estimated that almost half were operating to promote products or services that increase energy efficiency or the conservation of energy. The remaining green economic categories witnessed relatively equal representation.
In terms of green employment, there were 22,270 green jobs in Utah, 6,000 of which were found in the construction industry. The manufacturing and professional and technical industries followed with 3,272 and 1,743 green jobs, respectively. Other industries, while not possessing the same levels of total green jobs, had high concentrations of green employment relative to their total industry employment. 15.4 percent of the utility industry’s employment was green, with agriculture at an 8.6 percent concentration and mining at 7.1 percent.
In many ways, it was not surprising to discover which industries most represented green jobs in terms of total job counts and relative employment percentages, since some of the green economic activities within our definition are especially prevalent in particular industries. For example, jobs having to do with energy efficiency and conservation, such as HVAC technicians and solar panel installers, are frequently found in the construction industry. Likewise, energy efficiency activities are often undertaken by companies in the utilities industry, technologies in cleaner oil extraction and environmental clean-up are being more commonly utilized in the mining industry and consumer demand continues to influence the proliferation of sustainable agriculture practices.
If nothing else, the green jobs survey has demonstrated that green jobs do exist in Utah, as well as the related opportunities for Utah’s workforce. As market mechanisms increasingly incentivize green economic behaviors, Utahns can continue to expect opportunities in the field of green.
Green Economic Category Percent of Green Businesses
Energy Efficiency 49.2%
Sustainable Agriculture 11.1%
Renewable Energy 10.4%
Environmental Cleanup 10.0%
Education and Regulation 9.7%
and Reduction 9.6%