December 9, 2020 — The U.S. clean energy sector gained less than 8,000 jobs in November, with COVID-19 cases rapidly spiking and uncertainty growing. According to a new analysis by BW Research Partnership, the sector added the fewest number of jobs per month since unemployment peaked in May.
Nearly half a million clean energy workers remain unemployed (446,144)—representing a 13% decline from early 2020 for this historically fast-growing workforce. November’s dismal job results show no clean energy sector grew by more than 0.3%.
“It is alarming that the already anemic recovery for clean energy workers has worsened now, with an even smaller rate of job growth in November,” said E4TheFuture’s policy director Pat Stanton. “The situation for energy efficiency professionals is particularly worrisome, as this group continues to bear the most job losses. Efficiency jobs are down by more than 314,000 compared with January 2020 numbers. If this had been a normal year, the efficiency sector would have added more than 39,000 jobs since March.”
Renewable energy, grid modernization, clean vehicles and fuels are detailed in the memo from BW Research, which provides statistics for all 50 states.
As shown in analyses from prior months, Black and Hispanic clean energy workers continue to suffer from disproportionately high levels of unemployment. Data do not include workers who had their hours slashed and are now significantly underemployed.
“Several recent analyses suggest that unemployment claims economy-wide do not represent the entirety of job losses, as many workers who are furloughed temporarily or are beneficiaries of the Paycheck Protection Program are not seeking other employment and therefore do not qualify for benefits,” states the memo.
FEB. 2021 NOTE: This memo has been revised and is available here. The numbers presented in the original Dec. 8, 2020 memo are based on data issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Dec. 4, 2020. An update to that data was made by the BLS in its Feb. 5, 2021 Employment Situation report.