Demand for ‘green’ jobs is small, but steady in Minnesota

By Annie Baxter, MInnesota Public Radio

St. Paul, MInn – A new state analysis shows modest but steady demand for “green” jobs in the Minnesota’s economy.

DEED surveyed thousands of employers between late 2009 and mid 2011 to see how many were hiring in areas like renewable energy production and recycling. The agency says about 2.5 percent of overall hiring demand in that period was concentrated in those green jobs.

That isn’t a big share of overall job demand, said Oriane Casale, assistant director of the state’s labor market information office.

“Two-point-five percent wasn’t a huge number and doesn’t entirely justify the attention that green is getting or has gotten recently,” Casale said. “But on the other hand, IT represents, maybe 2 percent of the economy, and they certainly get a lot of attention.”

Casale said green jobs tend to require high levels of education and therefore offered better wages and greater job stability than overall job openings during the survey period.

Skeptics of green job counts say the categories are too broad and include areas like ethanol production, which has environmentally harmful byproducts.

Casale says DEED tried to be very rigorous, both in defining green jobs and in following up to be sure vacancies met those criteria. She says DEED did sometimes reject employers’ attempts to classify job postings as green.

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