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.