Clean energy shed 106,000 U.S. jobs in March, erasing a year of gains

Clean energy shed 106,000 U.S. jobs in March, erasing a year of gains

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Solar installers from Baker Electric place solar panels on the roof of a residential home in Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California

(Reuters) – From solar panel installers to electric vehicle factory workers, the clean energy sector lost more than 100,000 U.S. jobs in March as stringent measures to control the new coronavirus shut down manufacturing and halted plans for home and business upgrades.

The job loss estimates are based on an analysis of Department of Labor unemployment claims published on Wednesday by BW Research for clean energy business groups E2, the American Council on Renewable Energy and E4TheFuture.

They are a devastating blow to an industry that has logged more than 10% job growth in the last five years — a faster pace than the broader U.S. workforce. Yet they represent a small fraction of the jobs lost in the U.S. economy overall as 16.8 million people filed for unemployment benefits in the last three weeks.

The clean energy sector, as defined in the report, includes solar and wind company workers, electricians, roofers and plumbers who install energy-efficient products, and factory employees who make everything from hybrid cars to LED lighting to efficient appliances.

There were 3.36 million workers in the sector at the end of 2019, an increase of more than 70,000 from a year earlier, according to E2.

The March job losses, therefore, erased all the industry’s gains from 2019, and then some. The analysis projects that more than 500,000 jobs, or 15% of the clean energy workforce, could be lost in the next few months.

“What these numbers tell us is that clean energy workers are a huge and important part of America’s workforce — and they are hurting badly,” Bob Keefe, executive director of E2, said in a statement.

Energy efficiency jobs accounted for 70% of the losses, the analysis found, because construction workers and energy auditors were unable to enter homes and businesses due to stay-at-home orders.

Renewable energy lost 16,000 jobs and the clean vehicle industry shed 12,000 workers, the analysis found.

Wind and solar companies have been pleading with Congress to extend deadlines for projects to qualify for sunsetting federal tax credits. Those requests were not included in the $2 trillion coronavirus aid package passed last month, but the sector is hopeful that they will be included in subsequent legislation.

California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Michigan were the states hit hardest by the sector’s losses.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Latest Category Posts