U.S. DOE Releases National Energy-Employment Analysis

May 11, 2016
The USEER examines four sectors: electric power generation and fuels; transmission, wholesale distribution, and storage; energy efficiency; and motor vehicles.
Credit: moodboard

This spring, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the inaugural U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER), an analysis of how changes in energy technology, systems, and usage are affecting the economy and creating or displacing jobs.

Using a combination of existing energy-employment data and a new survey of energy-sector employers, the USEER examines four sectors of the economy: electric power generation and fuels; transmission, wholesale distribution, and storage; energy efficiency; and motor vehicles, which cumulatively account for nearly all U.S. energy production and distribution and roughly 70 percent of U.S. energy consumption.

Key findings of the USEER include:

  • Some 3.64 million Americans work in traditional energy industries, including production, transmission, distribution, and storage. Of those, 600,000 contribute to the production of low-carbon electricity, including renewable energy, nuclear energy, and low-emission natural gas.
  • Some 1.9 million Americans are employed in whole or in part in energy efficiency.
  • Roughly 30 percent of the 6.8 million employees in the U.S. construction industry work on energy or building energy-efficiency projects.
  • Employers in the energy-efficiency sector anticipate employment growth of 14 percent, or almost 260,000 people, in 2016. In the electric-power-generation-and-fuels sector, growth of 5 percent is expected, despite a loss of employment in the oil- and natural-gas-extraction sectors in 2015. Transmission, wholesale-distribution, and storage firms anticipate 4-percent growth and solar-energy firms expect 15-percent growth in 2016.
  • Despite the opportunity for job growth in many energy sectors, over 70 percent of the employers surveyed found it “difficult or very difficult” to hire new employees with needed skills.

A combination of employment data sets, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages and the Energy Employment Index, a supplemental survey developed by BW Research Partnership, was used in preparation of the USEER.

The DOE intends to conduct surveys annually to provide year-over-year analysis of the American energy-employment landscape.

To download the 65-page report, click here.