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Sep 19

Guest Post: Green Job Growth Fastest in Swing States

election 2012

There has been a lot of hubbub of late concerning green industry. If you listened to some of the speeches during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions then you no doubt heard the following: on the Republican side of the equation, Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, in talking about the failures of the Obama Administration, cited solar-panel maker Solyndra (which reported bankruptcy over a year ago) as one of the main recipients of federal stimulus funds and intimated that the administration knowingly gave money to what was virtually a sinking ship just because it fit in with the environmental ideals they espoused. On the Democratic side, Obama talked up the deal he made with automakers (not to mention the United Auto Workers) to increase fuel efficiency across vehicle lineups to 54.5 mpg by the year 2025 (an agreement that was actually made last year, but wasn’t “officially” announced until right before the convention). So there is definitely some political maneuvering happening on both sides of the aisle, with green business becoming the latest bone of contention.

What is interesting, however, is that these political agendas seem to have little to do with the actual state of affairs concerning the green tech industry. In fact, republican and swing states seem to be showing faster growth in the green market than their democratic competitors. Perhaps this is because largely democratic states were ahead of the curve and their seeming lag can be attributed to a slow-down rather than a deficiency of some sort. Or perhaps the Obama administration is pushing green industry in these states in order to solidify the current President’s bid to stay in office (by gaining ground in swing and opposing states). Or maybe, just maybe, leaders in these states have seen the potential in green technology for job growth, and being concerned with the relative well-being of their citizenry, they’ve opted to promote environmentally sound industry. Maybe, just maybe, this growth in green jobs has nothing whatsoever to do with politics.

If the states affected are any indication, the facts don’t seem to jibe with the political agendas of the presidential candidates. According to reports released by DBL Investors (a venture capital firm that supports green industry), of the ten states that have shown the most significant growth in green jobs, four are republican (Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming) and four are swing states (Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Carolina), leaving only two democratic states in the top ten (Hawaii and New York). And the majority of the top ten states with the highest percentage of green workforce (per capita) are also republican, with Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, South Carolina, and Tennessee leading the charge.

Of course, these statistics shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Republicans have always favored industry, and it seems they don’t care whether it’s green, blue, red, or any other color so long as it brings jobs and funding to their state. It doesn’t take an MBA online degree to know that green technology is on the rise, and it seems that Republican governors have seen the potential to provide jobs for their constituency even in a tough economy. So while the bigwigs duke it out on Capitol Hill, intent on making the “green controversy” part of their political agenda, the rest of us will be enjoying more jobs and less pollution away from the political fray.

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