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Energy Workforce Development

The clean energy sector is evolving rapidly and, with it, workforce development needs. To position Pennsylvania to lead the nation in clean energy development as it has in traditional energy, it is critical that government, industry, and educational leaders understand emerging clean energy workforce needs in real time. Recognizing this, the DEP Energy Programs Office contracted with BW Research to review the clean energy labor market, including a workforce needs assessment, in Pennsylvania.

This work included the data collection and analysis of current and projected energy jobs, and specific reports for clean energy jobs including renewable energy and energy efficiency jobs across the state using the 2019, 2020, and 2021 US Energy and Employment Report (USEER) data sets, released on the US Energy Jobs website. The contracts, funded through US Department of Energy's (DOE's) State Energy Program (SEP), resulted in the development of several deliverables, most recently the 2022 Pennsylvania Energy Employment Report and the 2022 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Employment Report.

Supporting and attracting steady, well-paid energy employment in the Commonwealth will be essential to both helping Pennsylvania to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and decarbonize its economy for a more sustainable future. DEP continues to track energy employment trends and pursue opportunities to encourage energy employment growth and maintain Pennsylvania’s position as a national leader in energy production while combating climate change.

2022 Pennsylvania Energy Employment Report: Still Rebounding After Pandemic

The 2022 Pennsylvania Energy Employment Report follows up on previous reports to track energy employment across the state. This report provides energy employment data from 2017 through 2021 for the major energy technology sectors, their component sub-technologies, as well as key industry crosscuts, including natural gas, petroleum, coal, and nuclear. This year’s report is especially important as it offers insight as to the ongoing economic recovery of the energy sector from the COVID-19 pandemic and provides important information on the state of Pennsylvania’s energy labor market.

The report found that:

  • At the end of 2021, there were 258,202 energy workers across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania accounting for 4.2 percent of all jobs, just under the pre-pandemic baseline.
  • Total energy employment increased by 3.3 percent, or 8,312 jobs, from the last quarter of 2020 to the last quarter of 2021.
  • Job growth in the energy sector was slightly slower than the statewide average. By comparison, Pennsylvania’s overall labor market grew by roughly 4.1 percent, adding roughly 243,225 jobs between Q4 2020 and Q4 2021.

2022 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Employment Report: Clean Energy Jobs Outpacing Overall Market Growth

The 2022 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Employment Report is a follow up to previous reports that tracks clean energy employment across the state. The report tracks clean energy jobs for each major clean energy technology sector and their component sub-technologies. In addition to job estimates by technology and sub-technology, the report details clean energy employment by value chain segment and county. This year’s report offers insight as to the ongoing economic recovery of the clean energy sector from theCOVID-19 pandemic.

The report found that:

  • During the first year of the pandemic (from Q4 2019- Q4 2020), Pennsylvania’s overall labor market declined by 6.7 percent—a loss of roughly 425,700 jobs. The clean energy sector shed roughly 7,200 workers during this time, representing almost two percent of total jobs lost between Q4 2019 and Q4 2020.
  • After the loss of jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the clean energy industry began to rebound. Between Q4 2020 and Q4 2021, clean energy jobs grew by 5.1 percent, attracting 4,613 jobs back to the industry.
  • This growth outpaced the overall economic growth and energy employment growth statewide, nationwide clean energy economic growth, and neighboring clean energy labor markets. During the same period, U.S. clean energy sector jobs grew 4.8 percent.
  • The clean energy industry also grew slightly faster than Pennsylvania’s overall labor market. Between the end of Q4 2020 and Q4 2021, Pennsylvania’s job market grew by 4.1 percent.
  • Clean energy job growth accounted for roughly two percent of new job additions during this recovery period.

Gauging the Extent of the COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impacts
The job growth demonstrated during the past year was not enough for a full recovery from the economic struggles brought on by the pandemic, and 2021 clean energy employment in Pennsylvania remained comparable to 2018 levels. Despite the rebounding growth, Pennsylvania totaled just over 94,600 workers at the end of 2021, a slight increase over the 2018 levels of clean energy employment, which were at 94,245.

New: Union Perspectives
In developing the 2022 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Employment Report, DEP and its contractor engaged with unions to assess how to those already working in energy view a transition to a decarbonized economy. While such a transition is currently viewed with some skepticism by labor organizations in Pennsylvania, opportunities that could grow interest in clean energy among unions in the commonwealth and a broader acceptance of a transition to clean energy center around specific technologies that could create in-roads with union members due to job growth and/or transferability of job skills.

Links to Prior Reports
2021 Pennsylvania Energy Employment Report
2021 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Employment Report
2021 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Industry Workforce Development Needs Assessment & Gap Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Energy Employment Report
2020 Pennsylvania Clean Energy Employment Report