Ten States Where Green Jobs Thrive

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10. New York
> Green jobs as percentage of total: 3%
> Green jobs in private sector as percentage of total: 1.9%
> Unemployment rate: 8.3%

New York’s clean economy is driven primarily by its public mass transit segment, which employs 56,500 people. This is more than twice as many jobs as the state’s second-largest green segment, waste management and treatment. Although it only employs around 500 people, New York’s wind energy sector is the state’s fastest-growing, with job growth of 96.8% from 2003 to 2010. In 2010, 6.3% of all jobs in the Albany metropolitan area were green — the largest share of any large metropolitan area in the U.S. A few of the state’s major private green employers are Cpower, MTI Microfuel Cells and Novomer.

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9. Washington
> Green jobs as percentage of total: 3.3%
> Green jobs in private sector as percentage of total: 3%
> Unemployment rate: 8.3%

Washington has nearly 92,000 green jobs, the vast majority of which are in the private sector. Although there is n0 one segment that dominates the state’s green industry, the largest areas of employment are conservation, hydropower and organic food and farming. The fastest growing sector in the state is renewable energy services, which has had a job growth of more than 69% from 2003 to 2010, primarily centered in Seattle. A few major employers in the state are wind energy company Gear Works Seattle, green construction services company McKinstry and sustainable forestry products company Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY).

8. Pennsylvania
> Green jobs as percentage of total: 3.3%
> Green jobs in private sector as percentage of total: 3.1%
> Unemployment rate: 7.6%

Green job growth in Pennsylvania is slower than the national average growth of clean economy jobs. Public mass transit is the largest green segment for employment in the state, employing nearly 25,000 people. Other major employment areas include waste management and treatment and conservation. Environmentally friendly lighting is the fastest growing sector, with a growth rate of 68.1% from 2003 to 2010. Major companies include energy-saving consumer products company Lutron Electronics and energy services company Mechanical Operations.

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7. Colorado
> Green jobs as percentage of total: 3.3%
> Green jobs in private sector as percentage of total: 3%
> Unemployment rate: 7.8%

Colorado’s clean economy has grown at nearly twice the rate of the nation’s between 2003 and 2010. Now, more than 72,000 state residents have green jobs. Conservation is the largest segment for green jobs, although companies like Ball Aerospace & Technologies have helped make fuel cells the fastest growing green sector. The Colorado Springs metropolitan area has among the country’s highest rates of clean economy jobs that are green collar. Green collar is defined by Brookings as jobs “with moderate wages and moderate educational requirements in production, installation, maintenance, transportation, construction, social services, office support, or protective services.”

6. Oregon
> Green jobs as percentage of total: 3.4%
> Green jobs in private sector as percentage of total: 2.9%
> Unemployment rate: 8.8%

Although Oregon is one of the nation’s top green jobs employers, job growth in the clean economy has leveled off since 2007, despite national green job growth increasing. The state is a major center for organic food production, as well as green building materials and sustainable forestry products. Major companies in the state include Columbia Forest Products and Valley Fresh Foods.