Green jobs in the United States totaled 3.1 million in 2010, according to a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number takes into account green goods and services (GGS) jobs that “benefit the environment or conserve natural resources,” the agency said. The jobs accounted for 2.4 percent of overall employment that year.
If you’re wondering how that total compares to earlier years, sorry, we can’t tell you. This is first time the government’s official job counter, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, has tried to determine the number of Americans toiling in the green sector.
Not surprisingly, California came in at the top of the green-jobs heap with a total of 338,400 such jobs—2.3 percent of employment in the state. The state has pulled ahead as a nation leader in a number of different renewable energy areas, including manufacturing and installation of solar power. Recent reports show the state is home to 3,500 solar firms that account for a total of 25,000 jobs. Those sector is forecast to grow by another 18,000 jobs in the next three years.
Vermont had the highest proportion of GGS employment in the county, at 4.4 percent, with the District of Columbia coming in at 3.9 percent. The District of Columbia might be on track to surpass Vermont in the years to come, if advocates for green living have their way. A variety of initiatives are taking place in the capital, one of which is a push my more than a dozen college and universities to become the “greenest college town in America.” The schools are planning to instate a range of sustainability measures, from energy use in buildings to transportation, and waste reduction to purchasing decisions.