A report released today from President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers says that cleantech and healthcare jobs will drive a jobs recovery. “Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow,” offers an overview of how the U.S. labor market is expected to grow and develop over the next few years.

The analysis suggests that the that the U.S. economy will likely emerge from the current economic downturn with strong growth over the next five to ten years in industries such as health care, education, transportation, and construction.  There will also be strong growth in employment in industries devoted to the production and distribution of clean energy.

The U.S. labor market is already becoming increasingly “green” through the growth in these occupations.  Jobs devoted to environmental improvement grew far faster than other occupations from 2000-2006 and the BLS projects fast relative growth through 2016.
The environment-related jobs focused on are environmental engineering technicians (see box), environmental engineers, environmental scientists and specialists (including health), and environmental science and protection technicians (including health).   However, these environmental jobs account for only a small fraction of a growing list of occupations and industries that are becoming increasingly devoted to clean energy production, energy efficiency, and environmental protection. CEA The officials predict a 52 percent growth in environment-based jobs during this period.

Investments in the ARRA will also help support jobs that will improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings, adding to the already strong growth expected in construction.  Investments in renewable energy will add employment to industries as diverse as wind turbine manufacturing and agriculture.   Distributing power through an updated, more efficient, system will require even more electrical power line installers and repairers, which was already a growing occupation according to the BLS projections.

CEA analysis suggests that particular areas of “green” potential (e.g., wind and turbine manufacturing, mass transit, or producing energy-efficient automobiles) pay more on average than otherwise comparable jobs.  They also are more likely to be held by primary earners in the household and to be unionized.  Some of the fastest growing jobs over the next decade have yet to be identified.  Although it is currently hard to classify “green” jobs as they cross standard industry and occupation definitions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has begun to consider a new classification system to learn more about these jobs.   This will allow researchers to track changes in this rapidly evolving sector.

The US economy is also shifting towards jobs that require workers with greater analytical and interactive skills.  These skills tend to be acquired with some post-secondary education.  Many of the jobs in high demand will require completion of a certificate program or an associate’s degree.
The report , Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow, can be found at the White House web site.

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine, Monster.com, About.com Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine, HR.com, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.