The following blog post is from Sandra Boone, Communications Associate for the BlueGreen Alliance.
There’s been a lot of good news in the past few weeks.
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the October unemployment numbers and they showed the economy gained 171,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate changed to 7.8 percent. The headlines also revealed “Manufacturing in U.S. Expands at Faster Pace in October,” as reported by the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index, rising to 51.7, a five-month high.
Additionally, the Solar Foundation released its third annual National Solar Jobs Census and the news was good. The report stated the solar industry is now employing 119,016 Americans. This is a 13.2 increase in the total number of solar jobs from last year, meaning the solar industry is growing 5.75 times faster than the economy as a whole.
All of this equals good news for the American economy. The solar jobs discussed in the Solar Foundation’s report are good, family sustaining jobs, and they are the types of jobs America needs more of in a 21st century green economy. They are jobs held by people like the IBEW Local 158 members we talked to in Green Bay, Wisconsin for our Green Files piece “Solar Training with IBEW Local 158” back in September (you can see the piece on YouTube or on Facebook).
These are the types of jobs the government needs to actively support. A new report from the Clean Energy States Alliance shows many state governments are doing just that: in 2011, state governments invested in a record 32,734 clean energy projects. In total, state governments have invested almost $3.4 billion of public funds in renewable energy projects since 1998, and they have leveraged an additional $12.5 billion at the same time.
Things are continuing to look up. Now it’s time for Congress to follow suit and take immediate action to renew the Production Tax Credit for wind energy, allowing America’s economic outlook to get even better.