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Charlotte Metro Area ranks 33rd for Clean-Energy Jobs

Green jobs account for nearly 2 percent of all employment in the Charlotte metropolitan area, according to a Brookings Institution report released today. The region is rated 33rd overall among the top 100 largest metro areas.

The study — Sizing the Clean Economy — says the Charlotte area had 15,485 green jobs in 2010, an increase of 4.7 percent annually since 2003. The estimated median wage for a position in the “clean economy” here is $40,858, compared with $38,560 for all jobs in the Charlotte metro area.

In the Brookings report, occupations that pay mid-level wages are considered “green collar” within the clean economy and can include jobs in construction, social services, production, transportation, and office and support services. Jobs that are part of the overall economy are referred to a “blue collar.”

The report found that the fastest-growing segment of Charlotte’s clean economy was in electric vehicle technologies, which grew by 170 percent annually from 2003 to 2010. The largest employer of clean-economy positions here was in the nuclear energy sector, with 3,457 jobs in 2010. That’s an increase of 678 jobs, or 3.2 percent, annually since 2003.

Among Charlotte’s top clean-economy employers listed in the report: battery tech company Celgard , vehicle maker Daimler Trucks North America , solar manufacturer Sencera International Corp. and nuclear power giant Duke Energy Carolinas.

The report stresses that the “clean economy remains an enigma: hard to assess.”

“Not only do ‘green’ or ‘clean’ activities and jobs related to environmental aims pervade all sectors of the U.S. economy; they also remain tricky to define and isolate — and count,” the report states.

Little information exists at the regional level, the report says, much less a comprehensive national database. And there’s a lack of standard definitions and data.

That drove the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings to work with Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice to develop, analyze and comment on a database of clean-economy industries across the country and in its metropolitan areas. Brookings says the Sizing the Clean Economy report is the first detailed study of the nation’s clean economy.

The report estimates there are 2.7 million workers in the clean economy. About 26 percent of all clean-economy jobs are in manufacturing, including electric vehicles, green chemical products and lighting.

The New York metro area, which includes northern New Jersey and Long Island, ranked first in the report with 152,034 clean-economy jobs.

Among states, North Carolina placed No.11, with 78,881 green jobs. South Carolina ranked No. 21, with 50,424 jobs.

Article by Susan Stabley for Charlotte BizJournals.


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