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Oregon, Other West Coast States Gaining Jobs through Clean Economy

Oregon's solar power fields are among the state's fastest growing for new jobs in the past five years, according to a Delphi Institute report. Credit: Jusben/morguefile.com
Oregon's solar power fields are among the state's fastest growing for new jobs in the past five years, according to a Delphi Institute report. Credit: Jusben/morguefile.com
December 3, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon has gained about 4,800 jobs in the past five years in fields that are part of the clean economy, according to a new report that says these types of jobs are outpacing the rest of the economy, all along the West Coast.

The research from the Delphi Group says green building and energy efficiency are the top sectors for job growth in Oregon, up 26 percent since 2010.

Delphi Group Regional Director Paul Shorthouse, a report co-author, says Oregon is holding its own, even compared to California and Washington.

"While the total job numbers are smaller, they started from a smaller base, so their growth rate has actually been fairly good,” he says of the Oregon figures. “We've also seen impressive investments in the utility sector and very advanced solar PV production facilities."

Shorthouse says the report shows regional cooperation is paying off for the three states and British Columbia that make up the Pacific Coast Collaborative, in terms of clean energy policies and investments that benefit the environment.

The report factors Northwest hydropower into its calculations for clean energy, and it is one of the top 10 segments of the economy that has shown growth in the past five years.

But Shorthouse says it isn't where most of the new living wage jobs are coming from.

"What we have seen, actually, is this trend towards more solar and wind that has now become the dominant source of jobs in the clean energy space, over hydro,” he points out. “So, it's been a bit of a shift over the last five years."

In Oregon, the report says some of the fastest-growing segments of the clean economy for job creation are lighting and appliances, wind and solar power, and energy-saving consumer products.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR