Clean energy companies employed more than 714,000 Midwesterners at the end of 2021, over a 5 percent increase from 2020 and a return to growth after an unprecedented decline in 2020. Approximately 55 percent of the clean energy jobs lost during the COVID-19 economic downturn were regained. In 2021, clean energy jobs grew almost 40 percent faster than the overall economy. More Midwesterners worked in clean energy than the number of lawyers, accountants and auditors, web developers, and real estate agents in the region combined.
The biggest sector of the Midwest clean energy industry is energy efficiency, over 67 percent of the region’s clean energy workforce. The 479,626 energy efficiency workers in the Midwest manufacture ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, install efficient lighting, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and install advanced building materials in homes and commercial buildings.
As more automakers and their suppliers continued to shift to electric vehicles, the advanced transportation sector saw an increase of 24 percent in the Midwest. The sector added nearly 21,939 new jobs for a total of more than 112,591 workers. Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric-vehicle sector jobs accounted for most of the sector’s growth.
Solar energy jobs, another highlight in the Midwest, grew by 8.4 percent to 39,934 workers.
Recent federal policies like the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and the CHIPS and Science Act, as well as state policies like the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in Illinois, make unprecedented investments in the clean energy economy and create promise for strong future growth in clean energy jobs.
Still, there is more to do to meet the nation’s climate goals of reducing climate emissions by 50 percent by 2030, improving equity in the clean energy economy, and growing clean energy jobs:
Across all clean energy sectors, the majority of clean energy jobs in the Midwest were in manufacturing and construction.
Learn even more about clean energy jobs in the Midwest.More Jobs Data
Unless otherwise stated, the data and analyses presented in this report by Evergreen Climate Innovations and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) are based on data collected for the 2021 U.S. Energy Employment Report (2021 USEER), produced by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and collected and analyzed by BW Research Partnership (BWRP).
The jobs heat map displayed above is based on 2020 data.