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Green Workforce Makes up 3 Percent of Oregon’s Jobs
CONTACT: Gail Kiles Krumenauer, Economist
(503) 947-3098

Oregon had an estimated total of 43,148 green jobs spread across 4,339 employers in 2010. According to the Oregon Employment Department’s report, The Greening of Oregon’s Workforce: Jobs, Wages, and Training, green jobs made up 3 percent of Oregon’s combined private, state government, and local government employment. Nearly 7,800 employers were surveyed for information on employment, wages, and educational requirements associated with their green jobs.

Green jobs can be found in every major industry and occupational group, and in every region of the state, but tend to be concentrated in a few industries and occupations. Over three-fourths of all green jobs can be found in five industries: construction (9,912 green jobs); natural resources and mining (8,014); state and local government (5,738); manufacturing (5,313); and professional and technical services (4,876). Nearly one out of every four green jobs in 2010 was in the construction industry alone. Similarly, 45 percent of all green jobs fall into one of 11 occupations, although employers reported at least one green job in 185 different occupations.

Almost one-third (30%) of Oregon’s green jobs required related work experience and no degree to be competitive for positions. More than one-fourth (28%) required a bachelor’s or advanced degree. In addition, 114 occupations had some green jobs with a license, certification, or special requirement.

Green jobs paid slightly higher wages than non-green jobs in 2010. The average hourly wage for all green jobs was $23.07, compared with $19.83 for all jobs. Green workers in occupations that required higher levels of education generally earned higher wages. About four-fifths of all green jobs with a competitive education requirement of a bachelor’s or advanced degree paid $25.00 per hour or more, along with roughly two-fifths of all green jobs that require some college, an associate degree, or a vocational certificate. By comparison, 3 percent of green jobs with no educational requirement earned an hourly wage at or above $25.00.

Similar to overall employment levels across the state, the largest shares of green jobs were reported in the Portland area (41%) and the Willamette Valley (17%). Southern Oregon accounted for 11 percent of all green jobs, and smaller shares were reported in Central Oregon and the Columbia Gorge, along the coast, and in Eastern Oregon.

Employers project little change in the number of green jobs statewide between 2010 and 2012. They anticipate a net loss of 598 green jobs (-1%) over the two-year period. Seven industries expect declines in green jobs between 2010 and 2012. Anticipated losses range from a drop of 3 percent (-253 jobs) in natural resources and mining to a reduction of 12 percent (-602 jobs) in professional and technical services. Three industries expect to employ more workers in green jobs during 2012: manufacturing; administrative and waste services; and other services. These industries expect a combined gain of 966 green jobs over the two-year period.

In Oregon, we define a green job as one with essential job duties that provide a service or produce a product in any of these categories: Increasing energy efficiency Producing renewable energy Preventing, reducing, or mitigating environmental degradation Cleaning up and restoring the natural environment Providing education, consulting, policy promotion, accreditation, or other services supporting the above categories.

The full report is available on the Green Info page of the Employment Department’s workforce and economic information website: QualityInfo.org/Green.