Red, White and Green: The True Colors of America’s Clean Tech Jobs

September 2012—a new white paper from DBL Shows Red States Lead in Green Job Growth

September 8, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO – Sep­tem­ber 10, 2012 – Clean tech may cre­ate a highly par­ti­san debate in Wash­ing­ton D.C., but in the rest of coun­try, it cre­ates jobs. A new report exam­ines the sharp con­trasts between polit­i­cal rhetoric and on-​​the-​​ground real­ity, and shows that red states – not blue states – are lead­ing clean tech or “green job” growth.

The report, “Red, White and Green: The True Col­ors of America’s Clean Tech Jobs” authored by Nancy Pfund, Man­ag­ing Part­ner, DBL Part­ners and Michael Lazar, a Yale Uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate stu­dent, demon­strates the grow­ing impor­tance of the clean tech indus­try in both red and blue states, and espe­cially in swing states. In the 10 states where clean tech jobs are grow­ing the most rapidly, eight are split evenly between deci­sively Repub­li­can states and swing states. Smaller, red states also tend to lead in over­all clean tech job growth as a per­cent­age of the over­all work­force. Fur­ther, a sur­pris­ing num­ber of party-​​leading Repub­li­can gov­er­nors have embraced clean tech as a source of well pay­ing jobs, often in man­u­fac­tur­ing, as part of the over­all eco­nomic devel­op­ment efforts for their states.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Red states lead in the rate of clean tech job growth with the most dra­matic growth in smaller (by pop­u­la­tion), red­der states. The top four states, Alaska (R), North Dakota (R), Wyoming (R) and Hawaii (D) have shown an aver­age increase of approx­i­mately 66 per­cent in green job growth from 2003–2010.
  • Red states lead in the top ten states with the largest share of green jobs as a per­cent­age of total jobs, with clean tech jobs account­ing for an aver­age of approx­i­mately 2.5 per­cent of the workforce.
  • In this elec­tion cycle, seven of the top 17 fastest grow­ing clean tech states are swing states.
  • Coal min­ing directly employs 136,000 peo­ple in the United States. How­ever, three states all by them­selves each have more clean tech work­ers than all the coal min­ing work­ers in the USA.
  • Repub­li­can Gov­er­nors Haley Bar­bour (Mis­sis­sippi), Sam Brown­back (Kansas), Chris Christie (New Jer­sey), Bobby Jin­dal (Louisiana), and Rick Perry (Texas) have cham­pi­oned clean tech efforts in their states.
  • Dis­cus­sion of three key state and fed­eral poli­cies that are required for the clean tech econ­omy to con­tinue its growth.

Out­side of Wash­ing­ton DC, there is no con­tro­versy about the impact of the clean tech econ­omy and its abil­ity to gen­er­ate jobs. Gov­er­nors in red and blue states alike are work­ing to attract and build clean tech busi­nesses because they know the pos­i­tive ben­e­fits these com­pa­nies can bring for eco­nomic devel­op­ment and job growth. As a result, politi­cians who play polit­i­cal foot­ball with clean tech increas­ingly do so at their own risk, while those that pro­mote green job growth score big points with vot­ers and work­ers alike,” said Nancy Pfund.

Edi­tors note: The report is co-​​authored by Nancy Pfund, Man­ag­ing Part­ner, DBL Part­ners, a dou­ble bot­tom line ven­ture cap­i­tal firm based in San Fran­cisco, and Michael Lazar, an MBA can­di­date at the Yale School of Man­age­ment and a Sum­mer Asso­ciate at DBL Part­ners. Pfund is also the co-​​author of “What Would Jef­fer­son Do? The His­tor­i­cal Role of Fed­eral Sub­si­dies in Shap­ing America’s Energy Future,” a 2011 analy­sis of U.S. energy incentives.


Chris­tine Hin­ton
521 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions