Darrell Issa Again Shows Deep Disdain For Green Jobs, Even With 338,000 Of Them In His State

by Adam James

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa is continuing his witch hunt against American jobs. Why? Because they are classified as green.

It may seem like an odd tactic for a politician to go after these kinds of jobs and isolate so much of his own constituency, since 338,000 of the green jobs he is belittling — representing 2.3 percent of total employment in 2010 — came from his home state.

But we’ll have to leave that to California voters.

At yesterday’s Oversight Committee hearing on Department of Labor reporting of green jobs, Rep. Issa pinpointed a few positions and asked if they were considered green. In particular, Issa was very troubled that retail workers in secondhand stores were counted as green because of their role in recycling/conservation.

His rhetorical point is to illustrate that green jobs numbers are inflated. So let’s finish the math for Rep. Issa.

Based on analysis from the Brookings Institution, of the 2.7 million clean energy jobs in the U.S., 25.7 percent are in manufacturing (687,000 jobs), 21.5 percent are in public administration (575,000 jobs), and 12.7 are in transportation and warehousing (341,000 jobs). 10.4 percent are professional, scientific, and technical services (279,000 jobs) and 11.2 percent are waste management (299,000 jobs).

How many are retail? 0.6 percent. Here’s a graph to illustrate that breakdown:

Interestingly, at least 42 percent of oil and gas jobs are in gas stations, offering a median hourly wage of $8.68. Green jobs have a median salary of $46,343 — roughly $7,700 more than median wages across the broader economy. They are widely distributed, creating more jobs for every million invested in every employment category of low, mid, and high credentialed jobs.

Rep. Issa also has a knack for poor timing. This week, the Department of Energy announced that 46,000 clean energy jobs have been announced in 42 states in the first quarter of 2012. That amounts to 126 companies, cities, and organizations creating clean energy jobs nationwide.


It’s time to stop trashing green jobs and start celebrating growth toward the kind of future we want; a future that is prosperous, sustainable, and clean.

Adam James is a Special Assistant for Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress.