BOSTON (SHNS) – Massachusetts had the seventh most clean energy jobs among states in 2022, according to a report released Thursday by a national business group.
There were 118,165 clean energy jobs in Massachusetts last year, an increase of about 5,000 jobs over 2021 and of about 10,000 jobs since 2020, the report from E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) said. Most of those jobs (about 81,000) were in the energy efficiency field, followed by 21,600 renewable energy jobs, 7,700 clean vehicle positions related to plug-in hybrid vehicles, all-electric vehicles, and hybrid electric vehicles, 6,800 storage and grid jobs, and 740 biofuels jobs.
In all, the clean energy sector now accounts for more than 3 percent of all employment in Massachusetts, the report said.
Ahead of Massachusetts are California and Texas, which have more than 500,000 and 250,000 clean energy jobs respectively, followed by New York, Florida, Michigan and Illinois. Following Massachusetts and rounding out the list of nine states with at least 100,000 clean energy jobs are Ohio and North Carolina.
At just less than 7 million people, Massachusetts ranks 16th in the nation for population. Each state ahead of Massachusetts on the clean energy jobs list (and the two just behind) has a population that exceeds Massachusetts’ by at least 3 million people, according to U.S. Census estimates from July 2022.
Across the country, more than 3.3 million people work in the clean energy world, which is expanding as policymakers around the country debate how fast states and the nation should be moving away from energy rooted in fossil fuels.
“Last year’s impressive clean energy job growth is just the beginning in terms of expectations for the sector and country. The Inflation Reduction Act was like a nitro boost for the clean economy engine and private companies have taken off at full speed. As long as this legislation is protected from misguided attempts to undo its progress, these job numbers will be skyrocketing for years to come,” E2 Communications Director Michael Timberlake said.
While Massachusetts ranked seventh for total number of clean energy jobs, the rate of job growth in the sector last year was much closer to the middle of the pack here. The Bay State’s 4.3 percent growth in clean energy jobs placed it 19th in the nation, well behind Tennessee’s lead at 6.5 percent growth but still ahead of the national growth rate of 4 percent, the report said.
In July, a workforce needs assessment from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center determined that the clean energy workforce here will need to grow by an additional 29,700 full-time equivalent workers in order for Massachusetts to meet its target of a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, all during a time of low unemployment and a declining labor force participation rate.
“The transition needed is daunting in scale,” MassCEC CEO Jennifer Daloisio said in July. She added, “The clean energy industry must grow by nearly 30 percent by 2030 and 74 percent by 2050 amid an incredibly tight labor market.”
Clean energy is far from the only sector that will need to bulk up in order to fulfill what is expected of it in coming years, and far from the only sector facing serious challenges in that regard. The number of jobs in Massachusetts is expected to increase 21 percent by 2030, while the workforce itself will grow just 1.5 percent in the same span, Associated Industries of Massachusetts CEO John Regan said in February, citing data from the Department of Economic Research.
In January, the ratio of unemployed persons per job opening in Massachusetts was 0.5, according to the most recent data made available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means that for every two job openings, there was one unemployed person who could theoretically fill the job. The ratio has been less than 1 in Massachusetts since July 2021, BLS said.