Energy workers are paid more, their jobs came back more quickly, and they have greater growth opportunities than almost any other sector, new report finds.
Putting people to work in the energy industry will reap more benefits for the U.S. economy than putting people to work in almost any other sector. That’s just one of a multitude of findings in a new report released this week from the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), the Energy Futures Initiative, and BW Research.
The report, Wages, Benefits, and Change, a supplement to the annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report, reviews job growth over the past 5 years taking COVID-19 into account. At 132 pages, the comprehensive report covers all sectors of the energy industry from exploration, fuels, generation, transmission and distribution, efficiency and vehicles.
First, the report shows that energy sector jobs are on the rise. In the five years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. energy sector grew by 12 percent, adding almost one million jobs (915,000 said the report), which was double the growth of the overall U.S. labor market. Indeed, new energy jobs from 2015 through 2019 accounted for almost 11 percent of total job growth in the nation, according to the report.
Digging a bit into those numbers, coal jobs declined 18% and that number was offset by the increase in employment in petroleum and natural gas (up 9%) as well as the job growth in wind and solar electricity generation (up 22%).
Energy jobs rebounded more quickly than other sectors. Once the pandemic hit, energy workers did take a hit, with more than one million jobs lost from March 2020-May 2020, however almost one third of those jobs came back between June and December of 2020. Further at peak job losses during April of 2020, 12% of the energy sector was