The public has shown increased interest in preserving the environment and related jobs, broadly called “green jobs.” N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains what these jobs are and how many of them exist.
“Well, this has been a long-term issue … . People talk about the green environment, the green sector of the economy and green jobs. We really haven’t had a specific definition of green jobs. Different groups have come up with names, but now we finally have maybe what I’ll call an official definition from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are really the keeper of all statistics having to do with jobs and employment.
“And the BLS … has come up with a definition of green jobs, and they say these include jobs that are related to getting energy from renewable resources, from improving energy efficiency, from reducing pollution and encouraging recycling – jobs that are focused on conserving natural resources and jobs that monitor compliance with environmental regulations and educate the public about environmental issues.
“Using that definition, what the BLS has come up with for 2010 – (the) latest year (for which) they have data – is that nationwide there are about 3.1 million green jobs. That’s split about two-thirds between green jobs in the private sector (and) one-third in the government sector.
“And to put that 3.1 (million jobs) into perspective, we have right now about 140 million total jobs in the country.”