Washington — Jobs in the U.S. energy industry rose 3.8% last year, faster than overall employment growth and led by work in clean energy, the Department of Energy said on Wednesday.
The U.S. Energy and Employment Report showed jobs in clean energy, a wide category including wind and solar power, nuclear, and grid technologies and battery storage, grew about 3.9%, adding 114,000 jobs.
Jobs rose swiftly in oil and gas fuels as Russia’s war in Ukraine increased global demand for liquefied natural gas and as demand recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jobs in natural gas fuels rose 24.1% for a gain of 51,100 workers, and petroleum fuel jobs rose 12.5% for a gain of 58,100 positions. Even so, the 1-million-strong workforce in fuels remained nearly 117,100 below 2019 levels before the pandemic cut fuel demand, hurting drilling and fuel production companies.
Overall, the energy business added nearly 300,000 jobs, growing to more than 8.1 million. Power transmission, distribution and storage, energy efficiency and electric power generation grew at slower rates than the average for energy. Coal electric power generation lost about 6,800 jobs, or about 9%.
Battery electric vehicle jobs grew by nearly 28,400, or 27%, the fastest growth of any energy technology.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said billions of dollars of incentives in the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law and the 2022 CHIPS Act led to gains.
Energy projects spurred by President Joe Biden’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act would lead to still more, she said.
“Most of those are still in the planning stages. That means hundreds of thousands of new jobs are already coming down the pike and there’s countless more behind them,” Granholm told reporters.
Work related to zero-emissions vehicles added more than 38,000 positions, up nearly 21%. Renewable power such as wind and solar generation added nearly 22,300 jobs, accounting for about 84% of new electric power generation positions.
About 11% of workers in energy were represented by a union or covered under a project labor or collective bargaining agreement in 2022, compared with 7% in 2022 for the overall private sector, the report said. About 10% of energy jobs were unionized in 2021.
Energy was a mostly male workforce in 2022 with an average of 73% compared with the national workforce average that was 53% male. But women accounted for about half of the 300,000 energy jobs added last year, the report said.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Leslie Adler – Reuters
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