What is a 'Green Job'? Advocates Won't Say
The more advocates talk about clean energy jobs, the more that number grows
When it comes to jobs and the state economy, claims by promoters of alternative energy stand on some very shaky foundations.
Recently, Michigan League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Lisa Wozniak wrote an op-ed published in the Detroit News titled: “Michigan, a comeback state for clean energy.” Wozniak stated that it was a “fact” that Michigan has 100,000 jobs in this area.
That’s actually 11,000 more clean energy jobs than claimed by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm earlier this year. At a California forum in May Granholm boasted Michigan had 89,000 clean energy jobs. But there is no basis for the figure, versions of which have been trumpeted for years by numerous politicians and organizations.
Wozniak didn’t return an email seeking comment on her jobs’ claim.
“You need to show your work on this one,” said James Hohman, a fiscal policy analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Hohman pointed to a report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing Michigan had 82,644 clean energy jobs in 2011, the last year that the BLS did this survey.
However, the BLS definition of a "clean energy job" would surprise most people. Many of the job titles included in the definition existed long before the the political terms "clean energy" or "green jobs" were coined.
Waste collectors, bus transportation employees, organic dairy farmers, roofing contractors, electricians and plumbers all can be classified as having green jobs. Even someone who dismantles cars to sell the parts at a scrap yard is classified as a "clean energy" job.
Even with all the garbage collectors and bus drivers included, Michigan still only had 82,644 "clean energy" jobs in 2011.
The BLS discontinued the Green Goods and Services (GGS) survey after releasing the 2011 data.
Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.