Location Specific Data Will Help Maximize the Benefits of President Biden’s Agenda to Deliver an Equitable Clean Energy Transition for All of America
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today, for the first time, released county-level data from its 2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) — a comprehensive study designed to track and understand broad employment trends across the energy sector and within key energy technologies. The county-by-county data provides a look at the geographic distribution of energy jobs which is useful for developing community-driven, regionally specific energy policies to help achieve President Biden’s goal of an equitable transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
“America’s clean energy transition is not a one-size fits all endeavor,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE’s first-ever release of county-by-county energy jobs data will help us pursue more precise place-based approaches, ensuring that the transformative investments from President Biden’s Agenda will support an equitable transition in all pockets of the country.”
The 2022 USEER, released in June, found that energy jobs have been on the rebound, growing at a faster rate than jobs in the U.S. economy overall in 2021. Even more, the 2022 USEER found that upwards of 3 million jobs — about 40% of total energy jobs — support reducing U.S. emissions to zero across several sectors. The county-by-county data underscores that the distribution of energy jobs is varied throughout the nation.
Key findings include:
- The sector with the most widespread geographic distribution of energy jobs is motor vehicles, which includes manufacturing, maintenance, and repair. A total of 519 counties have more than 1,000 motor vehicle jobs, and 29 counties have more than 10,000 motor vehicle jobs. Only one percent of U.S. counties (34 counties) had no jobs in motor vehicles. Outside of the traditional auto manufacturing region of the upper Midwest -- where jobs in motor vehicles continue to expand (Elkhart (IN); Wayne and Macomb (MI); and Lucas (OH) Counties) -- the Southeast is also showing job growth in this sector, with Spartanburg (SC), Madison (AL), and Hamilton (TN) Counties adding high numbers of jobs.
- Energy efficiency presents economic potential everywhere as both a source of jobs and as a cost saving measure, unlike energy technologies that are dependent on resource availability or existing energy infrastructure. Energy efficiency, including lighting, HVAC, and insulation is the second highest and most distributed source of energy jobs with 382 counties having more than 1,000 jobs. All but six counties have some energy efficiency jobs.
- For the electricity generation sector, solar jobs were the most geographically dispersed, followed by wind – 85% of counties had solar jobs and 78% of counties had wind jobs, and solar and wind represented the highest and second highest total number of electricity generation jobs, respectively. In 2021, 69 counties had more than 1,000 solar jobs, and 4 counties, all in California, had more than 10,000 solar jobs. Sixteen counties had more than 1,000 wind jobs.
Neither the number of jobs nor the increases or decreases in jobs shown in the county-level data tell the full story. Large urban counties – like Los Angeles and Harris Counties – dominate in terms of the number of energy jobs, while smaller or more rural counties, such as Campbell (WY) have fewer total energy jobs. Another important variable is energy jobs as a percent of total employment, which provides a measure of the reliance of the local economy on energy sector activity. The President’s Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (IWG) has begun to map energy communities, looking at employment and other economic data to identify priority regions.
To address the needs of energy communities undergoing economic transition, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supports transitioning energy communities, investing $750 million for manufacturing in coal communities and $500 million for clean energy demonstrations on mine lands. The IWG has identified nearly $38 billion in existing federal programs that could be used to provide immediate investments in energy communities.
The data highlights the promise of clean energy policy and infrastructure investments of the President’s agenda. Identifying places in need of extra support and economic redevelopment assistance to manage the energy transition will help minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of this transition for communities.
The U.S. Energy and Employment Report is a comprehensive summary of energy employment data, collected through annual employer surveys. The county-level data report the number of jobs by energy technology and splits the energy technologies into five major energy sectors: Electric Power Generation; Transmission, Distribution, and Storage; Fuels; Energy Efficiency; and Motor Vehicles. The release today covers previously unreleased 2016, 2020, and 2021 data.
For more information on methodology, and to download the USEER county-level data, visit the FAQ page here.