On May 16th, The Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) released the 2018 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER). The USEER offers data on employment trends in four key energy sectors – Electric Power Generation and Fuels; Transmission, Distribution and Storage; Energy Efficiency and; Motor Vehicles. This is the third installment of the energy jobs survey established by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2016.
Overall, firms covered by the survey anticipate roughly 6.2 percent employment growth for 2018. Energy Efficiency employers project the highest growth rate over 2018 (9 percent), followed by Electric Power Generation (8 percent); Motor Vehicles (almost 7 percent, including a 6 percent increase in manufacturing), Transmission, Distribution, and Storage (3 percent), and the Fuels sector (2 percent).
Key takeaways include:
- Solar firms employed in whole or in part 350,000 individuals in 2017. That represents a reduction of 24,000 jobs in solar in 2017 — the first net loss since jobs were first collated in 2010.
- Energy Efficiency jobs created the most new jobs across all four sectors, adding a net of 67,000 jobs.
- Just over 70 percent of employers across these sectors (70.2 percent) reported difficulty hiring qualified workers over the last 12 months, a decline of 3 percentage points from 2016; 26 percent continued to note it was “very difficult.”
Ideally, the 2018 USEER will be used to better inform federal, state, and local policymakers; academic decision-makers; and the private sector in developing integrated energy, security, economic development, and workforce plans. This kind of integration is key to maximizing the benefits of the nation’s abundant energy resources, rapid pace of energy innovation, and dynamic energy markets. EFI and NASEO hope the data presented in this report will help advance the understanding of the economics of emerging energy industries. Creating a single and consistent measure of employment across the entire U.S. energy system is critical to that understanding.