Kelsey Tamborrino 09/14/2020 10:42 AM EDT
The clean energy sector posted only modest jobs gains in August, according to a new report, leaving nearly 500,000 people in the industry out of work because of the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The details: The U.S. clean energy sector added 13,556 jobs in August, according to an analysis released Monday by BW Research Partnership, leaving 490,341 clean energy workers unemployed, or a decline of 14.2 percent over pre-coronavirus employment levels.
No state or sector saw significant job losses or gains in August, and Black and Hispanic workers continue to suffer from disproportionately high levels of unemployment, according to the report. The report does not include workers who had their hours cut and are significantly underemployed.
The largest segment of the clean energy sector — energy efficiency — saw a 0.4 percent gain in employment in August, adding 8,100 jobs. Still, 15 percent of the energy efficiency workforce remains out of work, according to the report.
The clean vehicles sector added back 1 percent of its workforce, or about 2,200 jobs, in August. Employment in the sector is still down nearly 14 percent over its pre-Covid-19 levels, translating to about 35,100 ongoing job losses, the report said.
In the states, California had the largest increase last month, adding 3,100 clean energy jobs, or 0.7 percent of its workforce. Massachusetts saw the highest percentage of growth in its clean energy workforce, at 0.9 percent, for a gain of more than 800 jobs in August.
But more than 40 states are facing cumulative double-digit unemployment figures in the clean energy sector, and more than a half-dozen states posted unemployment figures above 20 percent, according to the report. The highest among them is Georgia, which has a 31.3 percent decline in cumulative job losses since the beginning of the pandemic.
The background: August’s figures extended the trend of only modest rebound in clean energy jobs since June. The sector added 3,195 jobs in July after gaining 106,000 jobs in June.
Researchers at BW Research described the increase in July as “anemic,” and that weak growth continued into August.
“Concerns mentioned in previous jobs reports, such as high continued unemployment, casual or paused reopenings, and the exhaustion of many programs from earlier stimulus, were realized in this month’s stagnant jobs report,” Monday’s memo said.
What’s next: Lawmakers have been unable to come to an agreement on the next coronavirus relief package. Last week, Senate Democrats blocked Republicans’ narrow $500 billion relief bill, further weakening any chances that Congress will approve another package before the November election.