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First broad survey of Indiana's 'green' employment finds 46,879 such jobs in Indiana

A recent survey of employers found that Indiana has 46,879 jobs that directly can be considered "green." Green jobs -- so defined when the primary occupation leads to generating a firm's green-related products or services -- account for 1.7 percent of the state's total employment.

Driving Change

The survey, conducted as part of an 18-month U.S. Department of Labor study, also found that Indiana has 17,437 jobs that support green business activities, but are not primarily involved in green production.

About 16 percent of Indiana jobs that are growing in demand are green. Of the 256 unique occupations that are both in high demand and earn above average wages, only 42 are green, said the report, "Indiana Green Jobs: Employment Prospects in the Green Economy."

The Indiana Business Research Center, part of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, worked with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development on the statewide survey.

It is the first broad-scale set of survey-based estimates ever produced about Indiana's current levels of green jobs by detailed industry and occupation.

The Indiana report is a companion to a study that received national attention, "Driving Change: Greening the Automotive Workforce," which also was produced by the IBRC and was issued at a conference in Dearborn, Mich., in May. Labor market information agencies in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, together with research partners in each state, comprise the Driving Change research consortium.

A primary focus of both reports is to determine opportunities for displaced workers previously employed in the auto industry and by other traditional manufacturers.

"Many workers who lost jobs still need work and many will never be hired back into the auto industry," said Timothy F. Slaper, director of economic analysis at the IBRC, who directed the research. "One of the goals of the Driving Change research is to help displaced workers find new career options."

"Given that green jobs in the Hoosier state currently comprise 1.7 percent of the total workforce, the number of green jobs will be insufficient to absorb the many displaced workers, at least in the near future," Slaper noted. "The industries with the greatest concentrations of green jobs in Indiana are manufacturing and construction, both under considerable stress at present and highly sensitive to economic cycles."

Employers in the survey stated that most green jobs simply require on-the-job training. This finding is consistent with other Driving Change research that found that production green jobs did not require special skills, with the exception of those in engineering.

Most green jobs in Indiana are involved in either increasing energy efficiency or in agriculture and natural resource conservation.

Construction, services and trade accounted for well over 60 percent of green jobs. Manufacturing industries accounted for a mere 6,660 of the 46,879 jobs.

About 3.1 percent of Michigan's jobs are green. Michigan reported 25,780 green jobs in transportation equipment manufacturing in 2009, while Indiana posted a mere 1,700.

"We were quite surprised. We expected our results to be similar to our consortium partners in Michigan," Slaper said. "Moreover, a majority of Indiana green jobs were not in manufacturing industries."

Electric Car

GM Corp

Many green jobs in neighboring Michigan are involved in engineering and design, occupations that are focused on improving fuel economy and developing new electric vehicles. Indiana produces parts that may become components of a green vehicle.

"This may be attributed to the fact that many of the Michigan green jobs in this industry are involved in engineering and design, occupations that are focused on improving fuel economy and developing new electric vehicles," Slaper added. "Indiana, on the other hand, produces many auto parts that may or may not be a component of a green vehicle."

The dominance of Indiana's automobile industry is not very evident from the green job titles in the core green area of clean transportation and fuels. Only two production occupations, multiple machine tool setters and team assemblers, made the top five occupations list in clean transportation and fuels, accounting for about 25 percent and 7 percent shares, respectively.

"In contrast to Michigan, where over 40 percent of this core green area was attributed to engineering occupations, relatively few engineers inhabit Indiana's clean transportation and fuels core area," Slaper said. "One can speculate, however, that as demand and production of fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles grows, the share of jobs involved with the research, engineering and production will likely increase in Indiana."

The survey involved a sample of 13,520 firms, more than half of which responded, and included public establishments -- offices and activities associated with state and local governments -- as well as private.

Slaper said conducting the survey was necessary because existing economic classification systems and databases are not designed for measuring the green economy.

All Driving Change research findings, reports and resources can be found at