When it comes to job creation, it appears that the U.S. economy has undergone radical change over the past couple of decades as the full extent of neoconservative economic, trade and tax policies, along with rapid technological change, have been more fully realized.
Historically wide and growing disparities in wealth and income in developed and developing countries alike was a focal point of discussion for the world's super-wealthy at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, while the need to create more and better jobs and economic opportunities for all Americans was the theme of President Obama's State of the Union (SOTU) address Tuesday evening.
The potential to spur sustainable, well-paying job growth – as well as lasting environmental and social benefits – has been one of the principal reasons the president has espoused policies and legislation that promote and foster development of renewable energy and clean technology. Though policies, legislation and regulations aimed at fostering “green” job growth have been criticized, refuted, opposed and undermined, the latest report from the Solar Foundation reveals that the U.S. solar energy sector continues to create jobs at a much higher rate than the economy overall.
Employment in the U.S. solar industry has been rising at a nearly 20 percent rate since 2012, 10 times faster than that for average national employment, according to the Solar Foundation's report. The U.S. solar energy sector added an average 56 new employees a day between September 2012 and November 2013, surpassing forecasts.
Among other key takeaways from this year's report:
“One of the best ways President Obama can open doors of opportunity for those who most need it is by connecting his economic vision to his climate agenda. The president’s proposed expansion of truly clean sources of energy like solar and wind power, energy efficiency, and clean vehicles not only fight climate change—they can create good, high-wage employment. Jobs in the green economy, like manufacturing and installing solar panels, tend to pay more while requiring less formal education. That’s a recipe for helping Americans on the edge escape poverty.”
Images courtesy of The Solar Foundation
An experienced, independent journalist, editor and researcher, Andrew has crisscrossed the globe while reporting on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social and environmental entrepreneurship, renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. He studied geology at CU, Boulder, has an MBA in finance from Pace University, and completed a certificate program in international governance for biodiversity at UN University in Japan.