South is Surprising Home for Green Jobs

photo of planting of biofuel
image courtesy of governor Beshear, Flickr

Green jobs, or environmentally-friendly forms of employment, are one of the most rapidly growing sectors of our job economy. As we learn more about global climate change and as resources become scarcer and thus more expensive, the impetus for a more efficient economy has grown as well.

Many people who are looking for a career change, or are looking to enter the workforce, are finding that the best paying jobs are those in the green or efficiency sector. This, in and of itself, is not surprising. This is what many expected as the price of resources and our understanding of our environmental impact grew. However, where these jobs are popping up might surprise people.

When we think of the “greenest” places to live, we undoubtedly think of places like Portland, Oregon, Vermont, and other northern areas that are known for having more progressive policies. However, as the latest job statistics emerge, it turns out that the south is the home of most of the green jobs in this nation. The south, a predominately Republican area, is not often seen as progressive or green. Many view the south as a place full of folks who get in their SUV’s, close their garage door, and head off to some industrial job. But this isn’t the face of the south of the future.

Many factors are contributing to the influx of green jobs to the area. Recent statistics have shown that seven of the twenty one states with an expanding green economy are in the south. The unemployment rate in the south has been increasing and so too has the poverty rate. Creating green jobs in these areas helps the folks who need it most and provides them with better paying jobs than they might otherwise be able to access. Biofuels plants are popping up in the south, providing much needed jobs, as well as adding to our combination of alternative fuels.

Thanks to economic investment, as well as a number of tax credits, a green business is now a very viable business option. The south is receiving some much needed benefit from this stimulus, producing a win-win situation. Folks, who desperately need jobs, and decent paying ones, are getting them, and efficiency and green jobs are now seen as important to the future of our economy. Green jobs are the one area of the job marketplace that is still growing by leaps and bounds, and this trend is something we should expect to continue, well into the future.

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