I would just hate to have to be the one to break this to the President (er, scratch that. I would probably relish it.), but when the President returns from Martha's Vineyard to present his highly anticipated economy-and-jobs plan, I hope for both his and the American people's sake that it doesn't contain more dreamy outlines for the creation of 'green' jobs. Because when you've lost the zeal of the Gray Lady, you know something's up:
In the Bay Area as in much of the country, the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned. President Obama once pledged to create five million green jobs over 10 years. Gov. Jerry Brown promised 500,000 clean-technology jobs statewide by the end of the decade. But the results so far suggest such numbers are a pipe dream....
A study released in July by the non-partisan Brookings Institution found clean-technology jobs accounted for just 2 percent of employment nationwide and only slightly more — 2.2 percent — in Silicon Valley. Rather than adding jobs, the study found, the sector actually lost 492 positions from 2003 to 2010 in the South Bay, where the unemployment rate in June was 10.5 percent.
Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show. Two years after it was awarded $186 million in federal stimulus money to weatherize drafty homes, California has spent only a little over half that sum and has so far created the equivalent of just 538 full-time jobs in the last quarter, according to the State Department of Community Services and Development.
I have to admit, I never thought I'd see the day when the NYT would publish the phrases "green jobs" and "pipe dream" in the same piece. And it feels so good.
Also damning for the green jobs agenda, today Gallup released its Job Creation Index, and in the first half of 2011, energy-and-commodity producing states dominated the job market (as well as Washington, D.C., the home of our ever-self-multiplying federal bureaucracy).
Gallup's chief economist, Dennis Jacobe, speculates that Texas and Louisiana may have dropped out of the top ten this year due to increased regulation and restriction on energy production, and that all of this data "suggests that one thing the U.S. could do to stimulate job growth going forward would be to place more emphasis on expanding the nation's energy and commodity sectors."
Take note, White House. Green jobs-stimulus spending is little more than wishful thinking. The energy sector (and, for that matter, the economy in general) is kind of a big deal, and people won't thank you for trying to socially engineer it.