Renewable sector jobs to increase in 2017, DOE report says

The U.S. Department of Energy has released an update to its annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report, which tracks employment across a number of sectors related to America’s energy economy.

The document, called “USEER”, builds on the 2016 study by “administering a new supplemental survey to over 30,000 energy sector employees” across four sectors of the power economy.

Sectors surveyed include electric power generation and fuels; transmission, wholesale distribution and storage; energy efficiency; and motor vehicles.

Of particular interest to the hydroelectric power industry are USEER findings that hiring rates are projected to increase by 7% in the generation sector in 2017, while employment in the efficiency sector is expected to increase 9%.

Meanwhile, the study says 800,000 of the 1.9 million workers in America’s generation sector contribute to the production of low-carbon energy — including renewables — and that 32% of the 6.5 million Americans employed in the construction industry work on energy or building energy efficiency projects.

“This report verifies the dynamic role that our energy technologies and infrastructure play in a 21st Century economy,” said David Foster, DOE Senior Advisor on Industrial and Economic Policy. “Energy innovation is proving itself as the important driver of economic growth in America, producing 14% of the new jobs in 2016.”

Other key statistics from the report’s analysis of 2016 include:

  • 14% of the nation’s job growth came in the traditional energy and energy efficiency sectors, equating to 300,000 of 6.4 million total jobs;
  • Energy efficiency jobs saw a 14% — or 133,000 person — increase for a total of 2.2 million; and
  • Investments in transmission, distribution and storage energy infrastructure created 65,000 new jobs.

The 2017 edition of USEER also includes individual state energy and employment profiles, DOE said, providing a comprehensive tool for state energy offices and development agencies.

The U.S. Energy and Employment Report is available for viewing in full here.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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