American Cities With The Fastest Green Jobs Growth

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The American Cities With The Fastest Green Jobs Growth

10. Albuquerque, NM
> Green Job Growth Rate: 7.8% per year
> No. of Green Jobs in 2010: 9,912
> Current Unemployment: 6.8%
> Peak Unemployment: 9.4% (July 2010)
> State Unemployment: 6.9% (14th lowest)

Albuquerque has emerged as a major center for companies that use green technologies as well as large manufacturers of green technologies, such as Advent Solar and Schott AG. Last year, “The EPA awarded $49,000 to the Earth Works Institute and the Gila Resources Information Project towards the employment of New Mexico high school students in green jobs,” reports New Mexico news station KRQE. Unemployment is now two and a half percentage points lower than it was at the city’s peak, only one year ago.

9. Toledo, OH
> Green Job Growth Rate: 8.1% per year
> No. of Green Jobs in 2010: 11,831
> Current Unemployment: 9.3%
> Peak unemployment: 13.4% (Jan 2010)
> State unemployment: 8.6% (22nd highest)

Toledo, Ohio’s fourth largest city in terms of population, was one of the great American cities to be decimated by the decline of industrial America. Once home to several major automotive companies and dozens of plants, it is now an archetypal city in America’s rust belt. Its population has decreased by at least 5% every decade since the 1970s, including an 8.4% drop between 2000 and 2010. The city is looking to reverse its fortunes by attempting to be on the cutting edge of the green jobs movement. In 2008, Toledo Councilman Joe McNamara and Lucas County announced a Green Partnership aimed at creating environmentally friendly jobs. “We are serious about growing our green businesses,” Mr. McNamara said. “We want to be a livable city on the cutting edge of the green economy.” In the past few years, several green businesses have expanded to the city, including solar cell company Xunlight.

8. Tulsa, OK
> Green Job Growth Rate: 8.3% per year
> No. of Green Jobs in 2010: 7,130
> Current Unemployment: 6%
> Peak Unemployment: 8.9% (Jan/Feb 2010)
> State Unemployment: 5.3% (5th lowest)

Tulsa’s economy was once largely dependent on the oil industry. In recent years there has been a focused effort to encourage environmentally friendly companies to operate in the city. There has been some success, and green jobs have grown at a rate of 8.3% per year since 2003, with more than 3,000 jobs created. The city has recently begun a redevelopment project in which a Tulsa industrial area is being converted into a green-focused industrial campus meant to attract green technology companies. The project, called GreenPark Tulsa, is expected to attract 2,000 green jobs to the area.

7. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
> Green Job Growth Rate: 8.5% per year
> No. of Green Jobs in 2010: 2,203
> Current Unemployment: 11.9%
> Peak Unemployment: 12.8% (Jan 2011)
> State Unemployment: 8% (24th lowest)

Located at the southern tip of Texas, the metropolitan area is one of many southern and southwestern cities that have had a major population growth in the past few decades, more than doubling in size since 1980. However, McAllen’s economy has suffered heavily, and unlike many of the cities with major growth in the green energy sector, McAllen has continued to struggle with unemployment. The city currently has a jobless rate of nearly 50% higher than the Texas average. The city’s green-collar job growth rate is quite high, having nearly doubled between 2003 and 2010. However, the total number of jobs today is just 2,200, less than most major cities that have had relatively low growth. McAllen still has a long way to go if it wants to revitalize its workforce with environmentally friendly jobs.

6. Ogden-Clearfield, UT
> Green Job Growth Rate: 8.6% per year
> No. of Green Jobs in 2010: 2,111
> Current Unemployment: 7.2%
> Peak Unemployment: 8.5% (Jan/Feb 2010)
> State Unemployment: 7.3% (tied for 15th lowest)

Like McAllen, Ogden will still need to make a great deal of progress in order to be considered a hub for green technology business. Only a relatively small part of Ogden’s economy is green jobs, with just a few thousand of them representing just 1% of the region’s total employment. Unlike McAllen, however, the city has a relatively low unemployment rate, slightly better than the state’s average, and so the sense of urgency to completely reinvent its economy may not be there.