By March 28, 2016 Read More →

Over 70% of US energy employers can’t hire new employees with needed skills

Energy efficiency sector expects hiring to rise by 14% in 2016, solar energy to rise by 15%

energy employmentWASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Energy today released the agency’s first annual analysis of how changes in America’s energy profile are affecting national employment in multiple energy sectors.

By using a combination of existing energy employment data and a new survey of energy sector employers, the inaugural U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) provides a broad view of the national current energy employment landscape.

USEER examines four sectors of the economy — electric power generation and fuels; transmission, wholesale distribution, and storage; energy efficiency; and motor vehicles — which cumulatively account for almost all of the United States’ energy production and distribution system and roughly 70 per cent of U.S. energy consumption.

By looking at such a wide portion of the energy economy, USEER can provide the public and policy makers with a clearer picture of how changes in energy technology, systems, and usage are affecting the economy and creating or displacing jobs.

Some key findings of the report include:

  • 3.64 million Americans work in traditional energy industries, including production, transmission, distribution, and storage. Of these, 600,000 employees contribute to the production of low-carbon electricity, including renewable energy, nuclear energy and low emission natural gas.
  • An additional 1.9 million Americans are employed, in whole or in part, in energy efficiency.
  • Roughly 30 per cent of the 6.8 million employees in the U.S. construction industry work on energy or building energy efficiency projects.
energy employment

A combined cycle natural gas power plant.

The report also found several energy industries with projected increases in new jobs. Responding to the USEER survey of employers, the energy efficiency sector predicted hiring rates of 14 per cent in 2016, or almost 260,000 new hires.

“The transformation of our energy system and the growth of energy efficiency technologies are creating opportunities for thousands of new jobs, especially in energy efficiency and solar,” said David Foster, Senior Advisor on Energy and Industrial Policy at the Department of Energy.

Projected hiring rates were at 5 per cent within the electric power generation and fuels sector, reflecting overall growth despite a loss of employment in 2015 in the oil and natural gas extraction sectors.

Transmission, wholesale distribution, and storage firms anticipate 4 per cent employment growth in 2016. Solar energy firms predicted 15 per cent job growth over the next year.

“This report gives an important snapshot of energy employment in America, and subsequent reports will provide better information to guide policies and priorities that create new jobs, appropriately train workers, and promote a successful national energy policy,” said Foster.

Yet even as the report found the opportunity for job growth in many energy sectors, over 70 per cent of all employers surveyed found it “difficult or very difficult” to hire new employees with needed skills.

USEER relies on a combination of employment data sets including the Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages and the proprietary Energy Employment Index, a supplemental survey developed by BW Research Partnership.

This approach provides a quantitative analysis of how the four sectors provide direct employment across the economy within other occupations.


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