By Jonathan A. Schein, 11/18/09
Do I have your attention yet? These figures come from a joint study, by the industry association United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and consultant Booz Allen Hamilton, meant to predict where green building and construction are headed over the next three-to-four years. Currently, the study reports, green building supports 2 million jobs and contributes $100 billion dollars to the economy, while from 2000-2008 it created or saved 2.4 million “direct, indirect and ‘induced’ jobs,” generating over $120 billion in wages. The study projects wage growth of nearly $400 billion in the next few years. Jobs included in these figures range from architecture, design, and construction to transportation and many other vocations that relate to green building.
As 2009 winds down, this is more than an encouraging sign—it’s a statement of where some of the nation’s economic growth will be coming from over the next decade, if not longer. The term “jobless recovery” is too often used when a recovery is under way. This is typically put forth by economists and pundits who see the economy as the current state of affairs, and any growth is related to existing industries, not future ones.
It is difficult to see where the new growth will come from. As the the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, stated in an interview with Charlie Rose last week, nobody really knew that somebody named Bill Gates was going to come along. That same logic applies today. Another Bill Gates is going to arise from the ashes of this economic debacle. And chances are very good that this person will come from the green economy.