Clean energy jobs have been lost at a staggering rate during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of lost jobs tripling in April over the the previous month.
King County saw some of the highest county-level losses in the country, losing nearly 6,000 clean energy jobs in April. Of the other major metro areas, only Los Angeles County saw greater losses.
In April alone, there were an estimated 447,200 new clean energy jobs lost, bringing the total for the last two months to more than 594,000. It marks a 17 percent decrease in clean energy employment across the nation, and is more than double the jobs lost over the last three years in the sector. And these numbers don’t account for furloughed workers or those who saw their hours reduced.
Washington was one of the states hit hardest by the job losses.
In April, Washington state lost nearly 14,600 clean energy jobs, marking a 17.5% reduction. In March, nearly 5,650 jobs were lost. In terms of sheer numbers, California led the pack with more than 46,300 jobs disappearing.
A new report released on May 13 by several organizations including E2, E4TheFuture, the American Council on Renewable Energy and BW Research Partnership, outlined that damage.
The clean energy sector, like the rest of the economy, is taking a beating as state governments keep quarantine measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It’s likely that the clean energy job losses will continue to increase, the report states. Across the country more than 36 million people have filed for unemployment. The report states the total job losses could exceed 52 million by the end of June.
Energy efficiency jobs represent the largest chunk of clean energy jobs, and saw the biggest drop. This sector has lost 413,500 of the total 594,000 jobs lost since the pandemic began. Renewable electricity, clean vehicle and clean fuels jobs also saw losses.