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