Green Jobs Overview

Green jobs information from BLS provides data on jobs related to production of green goods and services, jobs related to use of green technologies and practices, and green careers. The jobs data are produced through three data collection activities and are based on the BLS green jobs measurement approach and definition.

Overall approach to measuring green jobs

BLS uses two approaches to measuring green jobs: (1) the output approach, which identifies establishments that produce green goods and services and counts the associated jobs, and (2) the process approach, which identifies establishments that use environmentally friendly production processes and practices and counts the associated jobs.

In the output approach, BLS is concerned with jobs related to producing a specific set of goods and services, and is not concerned with the environmental impact of the production process. The output approach alone, however, would not cover some activities and associated jobs that favorably impact the environment although the product or service produced is itself not "green." The process approach is intended to address this aspect of green jobs. In the process approach, BLS is concerned with whether the business uses practices or technologies that have a favorable impact on the environment, regardless of the good or service produced. The process approach is relevant to any industry. Each approach requires different measurement strategies and will tend to count different jobs, with some overlap in industries that produce green goods and services.

The BLS Green Jobs Definition

The BLS green jobs definition contains two components, consistent with the output and process approaches. BLS is conducting separate data collection activities for each component, as described later on this page.
Green jobs are either:

  1. Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.
  2. Jobs in which workers' duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.

The full BLS green jobs definition identifies categories of green goods and services and green technologies and practices.

The development of the BLS green jobs definition is described in an upcoming article within the January 2013 Monthly Labor Review. BLS published its proposed definition in the March 16, 2010, Federal Register and solicited comments on the definition. During the comment period, BLS also consulted further with other Federal agencies. In the September 21, 2010, Federal Register, BLS published the final definition, along with a summary of and response to the comments received in response to the March 16, 2010, notice.

Measuring jobs related to production of green goods and services

To measure jobs using the output approach, that is, jobs related to production of green goods and services, BLS prepared a list of detailed North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industries in which green goods and services are classified. This list was developed by staff review of all detailed (6-digit) NAICS industry definitions and product lists, and defines the scope for data collection regarding jobs related to green goods and services.

Two BLS data collection activities produce data on jobs related to green goods and services:

  • The Green Goods and Services (GGS) survey produces data on the number of jobs associated with production of green goods and services by industry for the nation, states, and the District of Columbia. This survey is conducted by the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program.
  • The Green Goods and Services Occupational data (GGS-OCC) leverages the existing Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey and information from the GGS survey to produce national employment and wage estimates by occupation for establishments with all of their revenue from or employment involved in green goods and services. Data for establishments with some activity involving green goods and services and establishments with no green activity are also published. GGS-OCC data are produced by the BLS OES program.

Measuring jobs related to use of green technologies and practices

To measure jobs using the process approach, that is, jobs related to use of green technologies and practices, BLS conducts the Green Technologies and Practices (GTP) survey. This special employer survey produces national and regional data on establishments' use of green technologies and practices, including by industry sector. The GTP survey also provides data on the number of jobs in which workers spend more than half of their time involved in green technologies and practices, including occupational employment and wage estimates for these jobs. Consistent with the BLS process approach to defining green jobs, where the focus is on the production process regardless of the product or service produced, the scope of the GTP survey includes all industries except private households. This survey is conducted by the BLS OES program.

Green career information

The BLS Employment Projections program prepares information on green careers, resulting in articles on topics such as careers in wind energy, solar power, and green construction.  Each article discusses how the particular technology works, and identifies the important occupations involved. For the occupations, the nature of the work, credentials required, and wages are presented.

Last Modified Date: January 25, 2013