2 workers wearing hard hats walking down a tunnel under construction

While several economic indicators show the U.S. in the midst of a strong economic expansion, two sectors outpacing the national job growth average is the Advanced Energy and Electric Power Generation industries. According to a new report from the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER), published by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), in conjunction with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency sectors in 2018 had approximately 6.7 million Americans employed or 4.6% percent of a total U.S. workforce of 147 million. Employment in these sectors increased in 2018 by 2.3% compared to the previous year.  This resulted in adding 151,700 net new jobs, almost 7% of all new jobs in the U.S.

Advanced Energy, defined by sectors such as electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, high-performance building energy technologies, wind turbines, onsite and large-scale solar installations, hydro and nuclear power, is expected to see job growth of 3.8% in 2019. This is more than twice the rate of 2019 overall anticipated job growth in the U.S. (1.5%). Although Electric Power Generation (EPG) saw several pockets expand job creation, overall jobs contracted in this industry in 2018 by 0.9%. A significant rebound is expected, as anticipated job growth in 2019 is predicted to be 7.1%, outpacing the Advanced Energy industry and the U.S. average as a whole. Many of those new jobs are expected to come from solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass.

Solar dominated by construction

Utilities are responsible for approximately 25% of all solar-related jobs in the U.S. with a total of 242,343. Construction jobs represent the largest category of positions in the solar EPG industry with approximately 177,320 jobs. The next closest segment is professional and business services with 48,142 jobs. While the overall segment in terms of jobs was down by just over 3% in 2018, a rebound of 8.4% is expected in 2019 with the following segments showing the most expansion:

  •  Construction: 8.6%
  •  Manufacturing: 7.7%
  •  Professional Business Services: 7.7%
  •  Other Services: 12.8%

Wind powering growth

Providing the third largest component of employment in the EPG sector, wind represented 111,166 jobs – an increase of about 4% in 2018. Most jobs (36,706) were in construction followed by professional and business services (27,058 jobs). The biggest job gainers, powering the expected 5% growth in 2019, are anticipated to be:

  •  Other Services: 11%
  •  Construction: 6.2%
  •  Professional Business Services: 6%
  •  Manufacturing: 5.3%

Hydroelectric holding steady

A total of 66,448 were employed in Hydroelectric Power Generation in 2018, most representing employment in manufacturing, utilities and professional and business services. The predicted employment growth in 2019 is 5.8%, with the biggest gains expected as follows:

  •  Other Services: 12.8%
  •  Construction: 8.3%
  •  Manufacturing: 6.8%
  •  Wholesale Trade, Distribution, Transport: 6.4%

Biomass continues 2018 growth in 2019

Biomass, the use of plant or animal material for the purpose of energy and heat production in various industrial processes, employed 12,976 in 2018, an increase of 4.6% from the previous year. In 2019, job growth is expected to continue at 5%, with the following areas showing the biggest increase:

  •  Other Services: 11.3%
  •  Construction: 8.7%
  •  Professional Business Services: 8.1%
  •  Wholesale Trade, Distribution, Transport: 7.5%
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