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After Rough Year, Clean Energy Jobs on the Upswing in Ohio

Ohio clean energy jobs declined in 2020’s pandemic-wracked economy, but the second half of the year showed significant recovery amid strong promise for the future

Quick Facts

103,437
Clean Energy Jobs
-10,951
Clean energy jobs declined for the first time in years, but the industry bounced back strongly in the second half of the year
+3%
Growth of jobs in alternative transportation, the state’s fastest-growing sector

Clean energy companies employed 103,437 Ohioans at the end of 2020, a 9.6 percent drop from 2019 and the first year-to-year decline since Clean Jobs Midwest began tracking Ohio clean energy jobs in 2017. But Ohio’s clean energy sector grew by 10.1 percent in the second half of the year, exceeding the state’s overall economy’s job growth rate in that period. Despite the industry’s overall decline,  more than twice as many  Ohioans worked in clean energy than the number of lawyers, accountants and auditors, web developers, and real estate agents combined.    

Clean Energy Jobs in Ohio

While clean energy suffered like many sectors of the economy in 2020, the prospects for growth are greater than ever given the opportunity for bold climate action at the federal level, along with state leadership.   

The shift to a cleaner economy is creating considerable new opportunities for job seekers throughout the region—including in communities impacted by the ongoing job decline in other parts of the energy sector. It is also delivering significant consumer and business savings through programs that help reduce energy waste and an increasing ability to purchase low-cost renewable energy locally. This is especially impactful for low- and moderate-income communities, rural communities and communities of color as the economy continues to recover.    

Jobs by Sector

The biggest sector of Ohio’s clean energy industry is energy efficiency, accounting for nearly 71 percent of the region’s clean energy jobs. But as more automakers and their suppliers continue to shift to electric vehicles, the advanced transportation sector saw a job increase of 3 percent for a total of 16,668 workers.

Among advanced transportation subsectors, hybrid cars and electric vehicles were the state’s bright spots. Hybrid vehicle manufacturing employees grew by 6.4 percent to 7,909 workers. Electric vehicle (EV) jobs grew by an even healthier 8.9 percent to 4,080 workers, and are poised for future growth with supportive policies and significant commitments to EVs by major vehicle manufacturers like Ford and GM and their suppliers.

Clean energy jobs are found in every corner of Ohio. While big cities like Cleveland (20,245) and Columbus (15,230) are some of the largest hubs for clean energy jobs, more than 15 percent — or more than 15,700 — jobs are located in rural areas.

Policies Matter

As lawmakers look to rebuild a better, cleaner, more equitable economy, the clean energy sector is a proven and solid foundation on which to build in Ohio.

To keep clean energy jobs growing — and ensure that they’re available to all Americans — Congress must:

  • Transportation and Grid Modernization—Pass and fund legislation to create a national car-charging network, expand building efficiency improvement, and modernize our electric grid.
  • Tax Policy—Extend, expand, and improve accessibility of federal tax incentives for energy efficiency, wind, solar, energy storage, and zero-emission vehicles.
  • Innovation—Make federal Investments in clean energy, vehicle and battery storage, energy efficiency, and regenerative and low-carbon agriculture.
  • Workforce Training—Better fund existing programs and pass new programs to create new employment opportunities, improve equity, and meet the workforce requirements of a better, cleaner economy.
  • Clean Energy Finance—Facilitate and leverage privately financed clean energy projects and improve equity

Ohio can also expand clean energy jobs by enacting state policies that support renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles. Ohio’s manufacturing and research capabilities, combined with the state’s highly skilled workforce and automotive heritage, makes the electric vehicle and battery supply chain an area of particular promise. Ohio has already attracted one large battery manufacturing facility, and with the right policies in place can help create and retain thousands of jobs in the new automotive economy as the post-pandemic recovery kicks into gear.

Subsector Details

Value Chain

Each category below captures jobs from multiple clean energy sectors and industries. The majority of clean energy jobs in Ohio were in manufacturing and construction.

Job Highlights

62%
Small businesses drive the state’s clean energy sector – in 2020, 62 percent of Ohio’s clean energy businesses employed fewer than 20 people
11%
Nearly 11% of Ohio’s clean energy workers were veterans in 2020

Find out how many clean energy jobs are in your country or district.

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Unless otherwise stated, the data and analyses presented in this report by Clean Energy Trust 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) in partnership with the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). For more information on the survey methodology, please visit cleanjobsmidwest.com/about.

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