Quantifying the employment impacts of an energy policy, initiative, or project is a challenging task. Conventional datasets and methodologies have shown to be inaccurate in some segments of the energy economy. For instance, the industry classifications used to define federal Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data do not distinguish energy efficiency jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, nor do they recognize solar and wind development professionals unless they are directly employed by a utility. Methodologies that are not customized to account for the unique realities of energy sector employment may result in significant undercounting and provide unreliable data with which to inform policy and program design and analysis.

For these reasons, many states have opted to conduct specific studies to better understand the energy employment landscape in their communities. Across these studies, NASEO has observed varying approaches to quantifying energy jobs, each with their unique strengths and limitations:

  • Studies may vary in the types of jobs they report. While many energy jobs studies focus on direct jobs (jobs created by hiring entities), some also account for indirect jobs (those resulting from inter-industry spending and supply chain linkages) and induced jobs (those resulting from the local spending of an employee’s earnings)
  • Studies may vary in the data they use to develop their estimates. Some states have determined energy jobs based on hours worked on an energy-related activity (and translating this number into full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs); surveys conducted directly with energy employers; or the type and amount of expenditures made based on assumed relationships between spending and job creation.

To view how different states and organizations have developed resources that meet their needs and priorities, visit our Resources page.