Environmental protection, the economy, and jobs

Introduction: The Issue

The relationship between environmental protection, the economy, and jobs has been an issue of harsh contention for decades. Analysts and policymakers of all points of view seem to agree that a strong relationship exists between environmental protection and jobs; the debate is over the sign of the correlation coefficient. Does environmental protection tend to harm the economy and destroy jobs or to facilitate economic growth and create jobs? If the latter is the case, can the positive affects be quantified and estimated at a meaningful level of detail?

Here we address this issue by summarizing the initial results of the Jobs and the Environment Initiative, a research effort funded by nonprofit foundations designed to quantify the relationship between environmental protection, the economy, and jobs. We estimate the size of the U.S. environmental industry in 2003 and the numbers of environment-related jobs created at the national level and in the states of Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

What Constitutes an Environmental Job?

Ambiguities and Questions

As discussed below, we estimate that environmental protection created nearly five million jobs in the U.S. in 2003, and these were distributed widely throughout all states and regions within the U.S. But how many of these are “environmental jobs” or “green jobs?” More specifically, what constitutes an “environmental job?” While a definitive analysis of this important topic is outside the scope of this report, our review of the literature indicates that there is no rigorous, well-accepted definition of an environmental job. Rather, the definitions used are often loose and contradictory.

Clearly, an ecologist or an environmental engineer would constitute an environmental job, as would an employee of the federal or a state environmental protection agency. However, there are ambiguities. For example, most people would agree that the positions in a firm that assembles and installs solar thermal collectors would be considered environmental jobs. But what about the jobs involved in producing those solar panels, especially if the factory involved used coal-based energy, one of the most controversial fossil fuels in terms of emissions? Here these manufacturing jobs are included as jobs created indirectly by environmental expenditures.

Most analysts would consider jobs in a recycling plant to be environmental jobs. But what if the recycling plant itself produces air pollution? What about a firm in North Carolina that produces emissions control equipment for power plants in Alabama? It seems clear that the jobs in the North Carolina company should be considered green or environmental jobs, even though the user of the equipment in Alabama may cause pollution in North Carolina. What about environmental engineers and environmental controls specialists working in a coal-fired power plant? What about the workers who produce environmental control equipment for the plant?

There are many firms in the U.S. that produce products for the automotive industry. Should those that produce components for fuel-efficient vehicles be considered part of the environmental industry, but not those that produce components for gas guzzlers? If so, is there any way to accurately distinguish between these? Should all factories producing catalytic converters be considered environmental jobs, even when some of these converters are used on low miles-per-gallon vehicles?

These relevant questions have, in fact, been generated by shifts in environmental policy itself. The early stages of the environmental movement in the 1970s and 1980s focused primarily on "end-of-the pipe" solutions: The remedies focused on cleaning or minimizing air, water, or solid waste pollutants after they had been produced. However, environmental protection has evolved to include entire processes, so, rather than cleaning up at the end of the pipe, the entire manufacturing and servicing processes are being designed to minimize the production of pollutants. Therefore, it is possible that efficient processes designed to produce relatively little waste output could actually result in a decrease in the number of “environmental” jobs if these are defined strictly as “end of the pipe” jobs. Energy efficiency could ultimately result in less need for electric power and could result in the shutting down of a coal-fired electric power plant. While some may view such a shutdown as an environmental plus, many environmental jobs in that power plant involving pollution abatement would be in this case lost.

While solid waste abatement is a major area of environmental concern, does this imply that all persons engaged in trash collection are performing environmental jobs? What part of the tourism industry constitutes “ecotourism,” and are all jobs associated with ecotourism green jobs? Are forms of alternative energy green industries, with all jobs counting as environmental jobs?

There is also the issue of how to account for indirect job creation and how broadly or narrowly to define an indirect environmental job. For example, what of ancillary jobs created across the street from a factory producing solar collectors, such as those in a fast food restaurant, dry cleaner, etc. whose customers are primarily the workers at the renewable energy factory. Are these latter jobs also considered to be “indirect” green jobs or environmental jobs? We include such indirect jobs here.

Definitions and Concepts Used Here

caption Figure 1. Use of the MISI Model to Estimate the Economic, Employment, and Occupational Impacts of Environmental Protection. (Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.)

Here we consider that jobs can be considered to be “green” relative to the way the job was performed previously, i.e., in a production process, a change in technology that reduces waste emissions or energy consumption makes the jobs in that process “greener” than before. Based on extensive research and literature review, we determine that environmental jobs are best understood when viewed in a continuum, with jobs that generate environmental degradation or extraction at one end; a range of greener jobs involving clean production measures and technologies to reduce environmental impacts in the center, and the other end of the spectrum where jobs have a positive environmental impact (see Figure 1). Using this concept, we define environmental industries and green jobs as those which, as a result of environmental pressures and concerns, have produced the development of products, processes, and services, which specifically target the reduction of environmental impact. Environment-related jobs include those created both directly and indirectly by environmental protection expenditures.

caption Figure 2. The Environmental Job Spectrum. (Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.)

There exists relatively little rigorous research addressing the practical relationship between environmental protection and job creation. Even some research in this area sponsored by environmental organizations is off the mark, in that it has tended to emphasize jobs creation in classically green activities, such as environmental lawyers or workers in recycling plants. However, while these jobs count as jobs related to the environment, we found that classic environmental jobs constitute only a small portion of the jobs created by environmental protection. The vast majority of the jobs created by environmental protection are standard jobs for accountants, engineers, computer analysts, clerks, factory workers, truck drivers, mechanics, etc. In fact, most of the persons employed in these jobs may not even realize that they owe their livelihood to protecting the environment. For example, as illustrated in Figure 3, in the U.S. in 2003, we estimate that environmental protection created: More jobs for secretaries (97,900) than for environmental scientists (50,700); more jobs for management analysts (82,600) than for environmental engineers (45,200); more jobs for bookkeepers (71,600) than for hazardous materials workers (33,300); more jobs for janitors (56,400) than for environmental science technicians (25,000); more jobs for computer systems analysts (30,000) than for chemical engineers (8,200); and more jobs for truck drivers (25,200) than for biological technicians (12,100).

caption Figure 3. Selected U.S. Jobs Created in 2003 by Environmental Expenditures. (Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.)

More generally, arguments stressing the economic benefits and job creation resulting from environmental protection and clean energy initiatives are not currently being made in a rigorous manner which disaggregates these benefits to a level of detail that is meaningful to policymakers. The level of detail required is at the sector, industry, state, city, and county level, and the jobs created have to be identified by industry, category, skill, and specific occupation at the state and local level. The findings summarized here provide data at such levels of detail.

Jobs Distribution in Typical Environmental Companies

There are thousands of environmental companies located throughout the U.S. and they generate jobs for nearly five million workers in virtually every community. These firms range from the very small one or two person “mom and pop” shops to very large firms employing thousands of workers; they employ workers at all levels of skills, from the most basic and rudimentary to the very high skilled technical and professional; include environmental service firms and manufacturing firms; include those whose market is local, those whose market is state and regional, those who market is national, and those whose market is international, and they face the same problems, challenges, and opportunities as other companies

Given the wide diversity in the size, function, and technologies of environmental companies, it is impossible to estimate the job profile of the “average” environmental firm. However, it is possible to identify the jobs and earnings profiles of typical types of firms involved in environment-related areas of work. Table 1 shows the 2003 occupational job distribution and employee earnings of a typical environmental remediation services company; Table 2 shows the same data for a typical wind turbine manufacturing company. These tables illustrate the points made above.

First, firms working in the environmental and related areas employ a wide range of workers at all educational and skills levels and at widely differing earnings levels.

Second, even in environmental companies, most of the employees are not classified as “environmental specialists.” For example, in the environmental remediation services firm profiled in Table 1, most of the workers are in occupations such as laborers, clerks, bookkeepers, accountants, maintenance workers, cost estimators, etc. All of these employees owe their jobs and livelihoods to environmental protection, but, in general, they perform the same types of activities at work as employees in firms that have little or nothing to do with the environment.

This is illustrated even more forcefully in Table 2. The occupational job distribution of a typical wind turbine manufacturing company differs relatively little from that of a company that manufactures other products. Thus, the production of wind turbines and components requires engine assemblers, machinists, machine tool operators, mechanical and industrial engineers, welders, tool and die makers, mechanics, managers, purchasing agents, etc. These are “environmental” workers only because the company they work for is manufacturing a renewable energy product. Importantly, with the current national angst concerning the erosion of the U.S. manufacturing sector and the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs, it is relevant to note that many environmental and renewable energy technologies are growing rapidly.

Table 1. Typical Employee Profile of a 100-person Environmental Remediation Services Company, 2003.
Occupation Employees Earnings
Hazardous Materials Removal Workers 22 $36,204
Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners 8 30,419
Construction Laborers 7 32,382
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Construction/Extraction 5 50,673
Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer 5 33,044
General and Operations Managers 3 86,258
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers 2 21,620
Truck Drivers, Light Or Delivery Services 2 27,437
Office Clerks 2 23,384
Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors 2 26,796
Insulation Workers 2 32,256
Secretaries (except Legal, Medical, and Executive) 2 25,998
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 2 31,217
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 1 41,202
Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants 1 36,729
Maintenance and Repair Workers 1 30,849
Environmental Engineering Technicians 1 36,939
Operating Engineers and Other Const. Equip. Operators 1 40,520
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Office/Administrative 1 47,576
Chief Executives 1 116,435
Construction Managers 1 73,994
Cleaners of Vehicles and Equipment 1 21,704
Cost Estimators 1 56,753
Janitors and 1 25,746
Environmental Engineers 1 69,930
Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators 1 27,741
Carpenters 1 38,588
Construction and Maintenance Painters 1 33,296
Accountants and Auditors 1 53,865
Dispatchers (except Police, Fire, and Ambulance) 1 29,537
Water and Liquid Waste Treatment Plant and System Operators 1 31,049
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Transportation Operators 1 46,914
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing 1 42,683
Customer Service Representatives 1 30,366
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Mechanics and Repairers 1 49,088
Environmental Scientists and Specialists 1 62,003
Receptionists and Information Clerks 1 22,775
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians 1 44,867
Other employees 12 47,422
Employee Total 100 $39,621
Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.

Table 2. Typical Employee Profile of a 250-person Wind Turbine Manufacturing Company, 2003.
Occupation Employees Earnings
Engine and Other Machine Assemblers 31 $33,359
Machinists 27 37,191
Team Assemblers 16 27,668
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators 12 37,254
Mechanical Engineers 10 65,772
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Production/Operating 10 54,705
Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers 8 37,202
Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters/Operators/Tenders 6 36,729
Drilling and Boring Machine Tool Setters/Operators/Tenders 4 36,509
Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers 4 36,530
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers 4 28,466
Maintenance and Repair Workers 4 41,318
Tool and Die Makers 4 40,047
Grinding/Lapping/Polishing/Buffing Machine Tool Operators 4 31,899
Multiple Machine Tool Setters/Operators/Tenders 4 37,517
Industrial Engineers 3 64,659
Industrial Machinery Mechanics 3 42,315
Engineering Managers 3 99,404
Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks 3 29,516
General and Operations Managers 3 110,702
Industrial Production Managers 3 85,512
Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators 3 31,416
Purchasing Agents 3 51,702
Cutting/Punching/Press Machine Setters/Operators/Tenders 3 28,907
Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks 3 41,601
Milling and Planing Machine Setters/Operators/Tenders 3 37,380
Mechanical Drafters 2 44,090
Customer Service Representatives 2 36,036
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 2 32,760
Office Clerks, General 2 27,227
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing 2 50,757
Janitors and Cleaners 2 28,476
Sales Engineers 2 66,591
Accountants and Auditors 2 54,873
Tool Grinders, Filers, and Sharpeners 2 40,520
Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants 2 39,638
Mechanical Engineering Technicians 2 46,767
Electricians 2 45,570
Other employees 48 45,969
Employee Total 250 $42,726
Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.

 

Findings at the National Level

Table 3. Environmental Protection Expenditures and Jobs in the U.S. Economy, 1970-2003.

Expenditures (billions of 2003 dollars) Jobs (thousands)
1970 39 704
1975 77 1,352
1980 121 2,117
1985 158 2,838
1990 204 3,517
1995 235 4,255
2003 301 4,974
Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.

We found that, contrary to general public perception and public policy understanding, since the late 1960s, protection of the environment has grown rapidly to become a major sales generating, profit making, job creating industry. Expenditures in the U.S. for environmental protection (EP) have grown (in constant 2003 dollars) from $39 billion per year in 1970 to $301 billion per year by 2003 increasing more rapidly than GDP over the same period – see Table 3. If "EP" were a corporation, it would rank higher than the top of the Fortune 500, for our estimate of 2003 EP expenditures ($301 billion) ranks it higher than the sales of $259 billion for Wal-Mart, the largest corporation in the U.S. In 2003, environmental protection generated five million jobs distributed widely throughout the nation.

Many companies, whether they realize it or not, owe their profits and in some cases their existence to EP expenditures. Many workers, whether they realize it or not, would be unemployed were it not for these expenditures: In 2003 environmental protection created nearly five million jobs distributed widely throughout the nation. To put this into perspective, the size of environment-related employment is over ten times larger than employment in the U.S. pharmaceuticals industry, nearly six times larger than the apparel industry, almost three times larger than the chemical industry, nearly half the employment in hospitals, and almost one-third the size of the entire construction industry.

We estimate that in 2003 protecting the environment generated $301 billion in total industry sales, $20 billion in corporate profits, 4.97 million jobs, and $45 billion in Federal, state, and local government tax revenues. Clearly, providing the goods and services required for environmental protection has become a major U.S. industry with significant effects on the national economy and labor market and on those of individual states.

Findings at the State Level

As part of the research initiative we have thus far estimated and assessed the environmental industry and jobs in six states: Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Our findings are summarized in Tables 4 and 5.

Aggregate and Sectoral Findings

caption Figure 4. Private sector manufacturing jobs. (Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.)

Table 4 summarizes the parameters of the environmental industries in each state. The size of the industry in each state differs considerably, from $5.4 billion in Wisconsin to $15.4 billion in Florida, generally corresponding to the differences in state GDP. However, the industry share of state GDP differs from a high of 3.9 percent in Michigan to a low of 2.6 percent in Minnesota. Similarly, environment-related employment ranges from 220,000 in Florida to 92,000 in Minnesota – again reflecting mainly the differences in the sizes of the state labor forces. Environmental employment ranges from a high of 4.9 percent of total employment in Ohio to 2.9 percent in North Carolina.

caption Private Sector Professional, Scientific, Technical Jobs. (Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.)

The shares of each state of the total U.S. environmental industry and environment-related jobs also differ substantially, depending largely on the size of state GDP and labor force. Nevertheless, there are some important differences among the states. For example, while the number of environment-related jobs is about the same in both Michigan and Florida and each state has about 4.4 percent of the national total, the population of Florida is nearly twice that of Michigan – Florida represents about six percent of the U.S. population while Michigan comprises 3.4 percent. That is, per capita, the size of the environmental industry in Michigan is nearly twice that of the industry in Florida.

Table 5 shows the industry sector distribution of total employment and of environmental employment in each of the six states. It and Table 4 illustrate that environment-related jobs are distributed among all sectors, but are heavily concentrated in several. Significant portions of the environmental jobs in each state are in the public administration sector which, given the public nature of environmental protection, is to be expected. However, most of the environmental jobs in the states are in the private sector, and focusing on these reveals that they are heavily concentrated in several sectors.

Of particular note is that the private sector environmental industry is more manufacturing intensive than other average private sector activity in the states. As shown in Figure 4, in Florida, 7.4 percent of private sector jobs in the environmental industry is in manufacturing, compared to 6.2 percent in manufacturing among all private sector jobs in the state; in Michigan, 29 percent of private sector jobs in the environmental industry is in manufacturing, compared to 17 percent in manufacturing among all private sector jobs; in Minnesota, the comparable shares are 21 percent and 15 percent; in North Carolina, the comparable shares are 24 percent and 19 percent; in Ohio, the comparable shares are 29 percent and 18 percent; in Wisconsin, the comparable shares are 31 percent and 21 percent.

Table 4. Summary of the Environmental Industries in Six States in 2003.
  Environmental Industry (billions) Environmental Jobs Environmental Industry as a Percent of State Environmental Industry as a Percent of Private Sector Environmental Jobs
State GDP State Jobs Total U.S. Environmental Industry Total U.S. Environmental Jobs Manufacturing Professional, Scientific, Technical
Florida $15.4 220,000 3.1% 3.0% 5.0% 4.4% 7% 22%
Michigan $12.9 217,000 3.9% 4.9% 4.3% 4.4% 29% 29%
Minnesota $5.1 92,000 2.6% 3.5% 1.7% 1.8% 21% 23%
North Carolina $9.1 112,000 3.1% 2.9% 3.0% 2.9% 24% 20%
Ohio $12.2 176,000 3.2% 3.3% 4.1% 3.5% 29% 25%
Wisconsin $5.4 97,000 2.9% 3.5% 1.8% 2.0% 31% 16%
Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.

The jobs concentration is even more pronounced with respect to employment in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector. As shown in Figure 5, in Florida, 22 percent of private sector environmental jobs is in professional, scientific, and technical services, compared to six percent of all private sector jobs in the state; in Michigan, 29 percent of private sector environmental jobs is in professional, scientific, and technical services, compared to eight percent of all private sector jobs in the state; in Minnesota, the comparable shares are 23 percent and five percent; in North Carolina, the comparable shares are 20 percent and five percent; in Ohio, the comparable shares are 25 percent and seven percent; in Wisconsin, the comparable shares are 16 percent and four percent.

caption Table 5. Environmental-Related Jobs in Each State, by Industry. (Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.)

Conversely, there are relatively few private sector environmental jobs in other parts of the states’ economies, including retail trade, finance and insurance, health care and social services, and transportation and warehousing.

The concentration of environmental jobs within certain industrial sectors is instructive and interesting. While accounting for only abut 3 – 5 percent of total employment in each state, the industry sector composition of environmental employment is highly skewed in favor of certain sectors – including manufacturing. This indicates that investments in the environment will provide a greater than proportionate assist to the states’ manufacturing sectors. All of these states are seeking to modernize and expand their high-tech industrial and manufacturing bases. Table 5 and Figure 4 indicate that the environmental industry can aid in this objective.

Similarly, environmental investments generate, proportionately, 3 - 4 times as many jobs in professional, scientific, and technical services as the state averages. Jobs in this sector include the high-skilled, high-wage, technical, and professional jobs that all states seek to attract and retain. Table 5 and Figure 5 indicate that investments in environmental protection can be of considerable assistance here.

Environmental Jobs by Occupation

We disaggregated environmental employment in each state by specific occupations and skills. The results for Florida and Michigan are representative of those for the six states, and this information for selected occupations is given in Tables 6 and 7. These tables illustrate that environmental jobs are widely distributed among all occupations and skill levels and, while the number of jobs created in different occupations differs substantially, employment in virtually all occupations is generated by environmental spending.

The vast majority of the jobs created by environmental protection are standard jobs for accountants, engineers, computer analysts, clerks, factory workers, truck drivers, mechanics, etc., and most of the persons employed in these jobs may not even realize that they owe their livelihood to protecting the environment. This is further illustrated in Tables 6 and 7, which list the jobs created by environmental protection in Florida and Michigan in 2003 within selected occupations. For example, Table 6 shows that environmental protection generated in Florida: More jobs for sheet metal workers (821) than for geoscientists (241); more jobs for office clerks (4,968) than for environmental engineers (2,545); more jobs for executive secretaries (2,432) than for landscape architects (313); more jobs for janitors (1,827) than for natural science managers (207); more jobs for electricians (708) than for chemists (242); more jobs for truck drivers (2,870) than for septic tank servicers (2,181); more jobs for financial managers (684) than for conservation scientists (371); more jobs for management analysts (2,049) than for environmental engineering technicians (1,289); and more jobs for computer software engineers (1,839) than for hazardous material removal workers (1,267).

Table 7 shows similar findings for Michigan. Thus, many workers in Florida and Michigan are dependent on environmental protection for their employment, although they often would have no way of recognizing that connection unless it is brought to their attention.

Table 8. Comparison of Estimates of the Growth of Environmental Expenditures in the U.S. (Expenditures in billions of 2003 dollars)

MISI EBI*

Expenditures (millions) Growth Expenditures (millions) Growth
1970 $39   $73  
1975 $77 97% $100 37%
1980 $121 57% $125 25%
1985 $158 31% $148 18%
1990 $204 29% $201 36%
1995 $235 15% $210 5%
2000 $273 16% $221 5%
2003 $301 10% $227 3%
2010 $357 19% $268 18%
2015 $398 11% NA**  
2020 $439 10% NA  
*EBI expenditures in current dollars were converted by MISI to 2003 dollars.
NA**: Not available. EBI did not forecast expenditures beyond 2010.
Source: Management Information Services, Inc. and Environmental Business International, Inc., 2006.

The importance of environmental spending for jobs in some occupations is much greater than in others. For some occupations, such as environmental scientists and specialists, environmental engineers, hazardous materials workers, water and liquid waste treatment plant operators, environmental science protection technicians, refuse and recyclable material collectors, and environmental engineering technicians, virtually all of the demand in both states is created by environmental protection activities. This is hardly surprising, for most of these jobs are clearly identifiable as “environmental” jobs.

However, in many occupations not traditionally identified as environment-related, a greater than proportionate share of the jobs is also generated by environmental protection. On average, environment-related employment in Florida comprises only three percent of total employment and in Michigan comprises 4.9 percent, in 2003 environmental protection expenditures generated jobs for a greater than proportionate share – as much as ten percent or more – of many professional occupations in the two states, including chemists, civil engineers, computer software engineers, electronics engineers, geoscientists, landscape architects, medical scientists, natural sciences managers, surveyors, urban and regional planners, chemical engineers, and engineering managers.

For many other occupations, also not traditionally identified as environment-related, a greater than proportionate share of the jobs is also generated by environmental protection. On average, environment-related employment in Florida comprises only three percent of total employment and in Michigan 4.9 percent, in 2003 environmental protection generated jobs for as much as ten percent or more of many highly skilled, technical occupations in the two states, including architectural and civil drafters, chemical technicians, civil engineering technicians, electrical and electronics engineering technicians, electrical and electronics equipment assemblers, electrical and electronics drafters, fiberglass laminators and fabricators, forest and conservation technicians, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers, industrial engineering technicians, surveying and mapping technicians, chemical plant and system operators, electrical and electronics repairers, engine and other machine assemblers, surveying and mapping technicians, and network systems and data communications analysts.

The above findings are significant for they indicate that environmental protection creates jobs in greater than proportionate share in two categories that Florida and Michigan – and other states – are eager to attract: i) College-educated professional workers, many with advanced degrees, and ii) Highly skilled, technical workers, with advanced training and technical expertise, many of them in the manufacturing sector. Environmental protection thus generates jobs that are disproportionately for highly skilled, well-paid, technical and professional workers, who in turn underpin and provide foundation for entrepreneurship and economic growth.

Our work thus demonstrates that environmental protection can form an important part of a strategy for states based on attracting and retaining professional, scientific, technical, high-skilled, well paying jobs, including manufacturing jobs. While a successful strategy must have other components as well, rarely has any state recognized the economic and jobs benefits that could flow from specifically encouraging the development of environmental and environment-related industries as an economic development initiative. Indeed, usually the opposite is the case: Most states usually tend to view environmental protection as economically negative.

Another important finding derived here is the significance of the environmental industry compared to other sectors of the state economies. For example, the tourism industry generates about 540,000 jobs in the Florida, and this state well recognizes the key role that tourism plays in the state economy. Here we estimate that environment-related jobs in Florida total 220,000 – jobs that tend to be more highly skilled and better paying than those in the tourism sector. This fact is not widely known or appreciated by state policy-makers.

Table 6. Environmental Jobs Generated in Florida in 2003, by Selected Occupations.
Occupation Jobs
Accountants and Auditors 1,272
Bookkeeping and Accounting Clerks 2,092
Cashiers 3,591
Chemists 242
Computer Software Engineers 1,873
Conservation Scientists 371
Customer Service Representatives 2,334
Electricians 708
Electronics Engineers 781
Environmental Engineers 2,545
Environmental Engineering Technicians 1,289
Environmental Scientists and Specialists 5,659
Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants 2,432
Financial Managers 684
Forest and Conservation Workers 199
Geoscientists 241
Graphic Designers 296
Hazardous Material Removal Workers 1,267
Inspectors, Testers, and Sorters 323
Janitors and Cleaners 1,827
Landscape Architects 313
Mechanical Engineers 250
Management Analysts 2,049
Marketing Managers 454
Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists 255
Natural Science Managers 207
Office Clerks 4,949
Pest Control Workers 1,161
Security Guards 1,614
Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners 2,141
Sheet Metal Workers 821
Stock Clerks 2,587
Training and Development Specialists 431
Truck Drivers 2,870
Water and Liquid Waste Treatment Plant Operators 5,484
Welders and Solderers 328
Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.

Table 7. Environmental Jobs Generated in Michigan in 2003, by Selected Occupations.
Occupation Jobs
Accountants and Auditors 1,780
Chemical Engineers 197
Computer and Information Systems Managers 535
Construction Laborers 880
Customer Service Representative 2,425
Electricians 1,079
Engine and Other Machine Assemblers 186
Environmental Engineers 1,382
Environmental Scientists and Specialists 1,523
Employment, Recruitment, and Placement Specialists 525
Financial Analysts 353
Forest and Conservation Technicians 190
Forging Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders 204
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers 272
Hazardous Material Removal Workers 1,210
Human Resource Managers 297
Industrial Engineers 739
Industrial Machinery Mechanics 464
Inspectors, Testers, and Sorters 1,161
Janitors and Cleaners 3,040
Landscaping and Grounds Workers 1,101
Machinists 966
Management Analysts 1,134
Marketing Managers 311
Mechanical Engineering Technicians 307
Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists 225
Office Clerks 4,118
Packers and Packagers 952
Receptionists and Information Clerks 1,512
Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors 5,454
Sales Representatives, Technical and Scientific Products 563
Secretaries 2,522
Security Guards 1,115
Septic Tank Services and Sewer Pipe Cleaners 702
Tool and Die Makers 524
Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor Trailer 2,176
Water and Liquid Waste Treatment Plant Operators 5,130
Word Processors and Typists 523
Source: Management Information Services, Inc., 2006.

Notes

  1. The research summarized here was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Merck Fund, and the Beldon Fund.
  2. The economic and employment effects of environmental protection expenditures were estimated using the Management Information Services, Inc. model, data base, and information system. A simplified version of the MISI model as applied in this study is shown in Figure 1.
  3. Windpower is the most rapidly growing source of electrical power in the world.
  4. In this paper, ”expenditures” refers to all public and private spending in the environmental sector (EP spending) and is used interchangeably with “sales.”
  5. The national estimates have been developed by MISI beginning in 1986 using the model and database summarized in Section II, and have been updated periodically over the past two decades. The six states discussed here were selected for detailed analysis at the request of the funders of the work. The overall project goal is to eventually conduct similar analyses for as many states as possible and, at present, estimates are being developed for three more states – Arizona, California, and Connecticut – to provide better geographic coverage. In addition, analyses for states such as New York, Oregon, and Washington that have traditionally been viewed as environmentally aggressive can help determine if environmental job growth has been more rapid in these states. Findings will be posted on the MISI web site when available.
  6. As discussed, all estimates of the size of the environmental industry rely critically on the exact definition of the industry. Since there is no official definition, estimates of the size of the environmental industry differ according to the source. In MISI's case, the definition of the industry includes human and environmental sustainability principles, and MISI’s estimates thus include a broader range of environmental activities in the economy than some other definitions that have been developed.
  7. The detailed findings for each state are available on the MISI web site.
  8. These policies differ considerably among the states, and some states have belatedly begun to recognize the economic benefits of environmental protection. For example, Florida has initiated a major Everglades restoration program and has prohibited offshore drilling, Michigan has implemented a hydrogen program, Arizona has aggressively promoted solar and wind, and Washington is initiating an ambitious biomass program.
Glossary

Citation

Bezdek, R. (2008). Environmental protection, the economy, and jobs. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/152633

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