Green Jobs Metrics

This research summary offers an overview of efforts to quantify the national green economy in terms of job creation from several perspectives.

Economic claims about various energy strategies today are receiving considerable media attention. Many policymakers and interest groups promote energy policies and projects in terms of “simple” job creation numbers. However, job creation estimates and projections are anything but simple. There are risks associated with uninformed use of employment data, and a number of media outlets are devoting energy and time to debunking jobs claims, much as The Washington Post did with the Keystone XL Pipeline debate.1

This paper offers an overview of efforts to quantify the national green economy in terms of job creation from two perspectives. First, we review leading studies that have documented the size and growth rates of the green economy to date to provide a synopsis of methods and data sources, and to assess how easily such studies could be reproduced. Second, we discuss the practice of projecting future green job creation. We provide a brief review of methods used to forecast employment from clean energy policies and projects, and offer a framework for thinking critically about employment projections and their use in policy analysis.

The Executive Summary provides key points about measuring the green economy and projecting green job growth, and offers points of consideration. The Closing Thoughts section looks at future methods and approaches to effectively measure the Green Economy. References to cited materials as well as other employment studies are provided at the end of the document.

The goal of this paper is to encourage precision and credibility in public discussions of the performance of the green economy. We approach this goal by offering a concise guide to and discussion of the various approaches to measuring the green economy that have emerged over the past decade.2