Green Jobs: Fact or Fiction

One of the seemingly compelling arguments made by proponents of green energy is that the shift to different types of energy production would create many jobs and be good for the economy. This argument is particularly appealing right now, as job losses are stacking up.

The article Green Jobs: Fact or Fiction examines four studies that promote green jobs as a way to benefit the economy. All have problems, falling into a few general categories:

1. Mistaking a labor-intensive energy sector as the goal, rather than efficient energy provision.
“It is a sign of increased efficiency if more energy can be produced and delivered with fewer workers, because this expands the overall output potential of the economy. Yet the green jobs studies that we analyze in this report reach the opposite conclusion, and favor energy sources that require more workers to yield a given amount of energy.”

2. Counting job creation but ignoring job destruction.
“Even if job creation per se is the goal, the studies fail to properly account for the job destruction that their recommendations would entail.”

3. Double counting of jobs and overly simplistic treatment of the labor market.
“The thinking is that the workers going into the new green jobs will simply reduce the unemployment rate, rather than siphoning talented people away from other industries.”

4. Ignoring the role of the private sector.
“No consideration appears to have been given to the fact that government cannot direct the labor and capital markets more efficiently than market wage and interest rates.”

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