'Green' job ranking puts Oklahoma at No. 48
BY JOHN STANCAVAGE World Business Editor
Thursday, December 06, 2012
12/06/12 at 2:44 AM
Oklahoma ranks among the states with the most room for improvement in "green" jobs, a new study says.
The report by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, found Oklahoma had only 22,411 jobs that could be classified green by Bureau of Labor Statistics standards. That ranked the state No. 48, ahead of only Florida and Nevada, on a per-capita basis.
According to EPI senior policy analyst Ethan Pollack, who authored the study, the old-fashioned "dirty economy" model relies on fossil fuels and the production of pollution-intensive goods.
In addition, he said, "A dirty economy subsidizes the well-off by taxing the poor and disenfranchised, distorts the market, and short-changes future generations by leaving the world a worse place for them to live,"
In contrast, Pollack said, green jobs boost the states in which they are located.
"Greener industries grow faster than the overall economy," he said. "For every percentage-point increase in an industry's green intensity, annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher."
Other advantages of green jobs included better performance in an economic downturn, greater accessibility to workers without a college degree and enhanced growth for the manufacturing sector, EPI found.
According to the BLS definition, green jobs are either:
The top five states in the survey for producing green jobs were Vermont, Pennsylvania, Washington, Colorado and Oregon.
- Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources, or
- Jobs in which workers' duties involve making production processes more environmentally friendly or ensuring that they use fewer natural resources.
Oklahoma's poor position on the list stemmed mainly from the state having a variety of businesses that overall were "dirtier" than their counterparts elsewhere, Pollack said in a telephone interview.
However, the data used was from 2010 and did not take into account recent growth in wind energy generation and related manufacturing, and greater recycling efforts in Oklahoma.
"Perhaps if we do this study again in a few years, your state will have moved up," he said.
According to Washington, D.C.-based EPI, there are 3.1 million green jobs nationally. That total includes 2.3 million jobs (73 percent) in the private sector, 157,000 jobs (5 percent) in the federal government, 227,000 jobs (7 percent) in state governments and 476,000 jobs (15 percent) in local governments.
The seeds of a transition to greener jobs are planted throughout the economy, Pollack said.
"The fundamental structure of the economy will remain intact," he said. "This vision isn't so radical but rather is already happening all around us."
As the U.S. economy becomes greener, he said, "it also will be more open, accessible and resilient."
States with the most "green" jobs
(Measured per capita)
10. District of Columbia
Source: Economic Policy Institute
Original Print Headline: State ranks 48th in ratio of 'green' jobs
John Stancavage 918-581-8314