Triangle is No. 2 in green jobs growth

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The Triangle is the nation’s second-fastest growing region for green jobs, according to the Brookings Institution, reports the News & Observer.

“Sizing the Clean Economy,” is the first attempt at a comprehensive assessment of the nation’s green jobs sector. Regional studies issued in the past have not been consistent in how they define and count green jobs, making comparisons all but useless.

For example, North Carolina had nearly 79,000 green collar jobs in 2010, according to the Brookings count. That total is much higher than the 12,500 green jobs counted last year by a state advocacy group, the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association.

The Brookings study found that North Carolina has the nation’s 11th largest statewide green economy, while the Triangle is the 30th largest regional green economy.

Brookings reports that the Triangle had 16,677 clean economy jobs last year, a 13.7 percent increase from 2003. Only Knoxville, Tenn., grew at a faster clip, although the Triangle’s clean jobs sector is bigger than Knoxville’s.

The report says the average wage in the Triangle’s green sector was $40,795 in 2009. That’s not far off the average for the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, which was $43,133.

“Raleigh has a disproportionate number of jobs in training, smart grid, pollution reduction, regulation, and architecture and construction services,” the report says. “In Raleigh, job expansions were largely attributable to the government and public transit segments, with small contributions from smart grid and a few others.”

Duke University recently issued a study identifying the Triangle as one of the nation’s hubs for smart grid development and research.

Brookings, one of the country’s most influential think tanks, takes an expansive view of the green economy, including such categories as retail, legal, arts, entertainment, food services and insurance. By the Brookings count, the U.S. clean jobs sector is bigger than the fossil fuels industry. Read More.

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