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RELEASE: Green Investment Will Yield 2 Million Jobs in Two Years

New Report Outlines Rapid Green Economic Recovery Plan, Shows Green Investment Creates Four Times as Many Jobs as Same Investment in Oil

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Contact: Madeline Meth
Phone: 202.741.6277
Email: mmeth@americanprogress.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 9, 2008) — A new report released today shows that the United States can create 2 million jobs over two years by investing in a rapid green economic recovery program. The report also shows this $100 billion green investment package would create nearly four times more jobs than spending the same amount of money within the oil industry, and would reduce the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent over two years.

"Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy," was prepared by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst under commission by the Center for American Progress. It was authored by Robert Pollin, Heidi Garrett-Peltier, James Heintz, and Helen Scharber of PERI. The report was released in conjunction with the Green Jobs for America campaign and marks the start of a week-long green jobs tour with stops in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Missouri, Tennessee, and Minnesota.

The new report shows that, in addition to creating 2 million jobs nationwide over two years, this $100 billion green economic recovery package would:

  • Create nearly four times more jobs than spending the same amount of money within the oil industry and 300,000 more jobs than a similar amount of spending directed toward household consumption.
  • Create roughly triple the number of good jobs—paying at least $16 dollars an hour—as spending the same amount of money within the oil industry.
  • Reduce the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent from 5.7 percent (calculated within the framework of U.S. labor market conditions in July 2008).
  • Bolster employment especially in construction and manufacturing. Construction employment has fallen from 8 million to 7.2 million jobs over the past two years due to the housing bubble collapse. The Green Recovery program can, at the least, bring back these lost 800,000 construction jobs.

For the complete report findings go to: Green Recovery (CAP) and Green Recovery (PERI).

The green economic recovery program addresses the immediate need to boost our struggling economy and accelerate the adoption of a comprehensive clean energy agenda through a $100 billion investment that would combine tax credits and loan guarantees for private businesses along with direct public investment spending.

The recovery program aims to boost private and public investment in six energy-efficiency and renewable energy strategies: retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency; expanding mass transit and freight rail; constructing “smart” electrical grid transmission systems; and increasing the production of wind power, solar power, and next-generation biofuels.

The report shows the vast majority of the 2 million jobs would be in the same areas of employment that people already work in today, in every region and state of the country. For example, constructing wind farms creates jobs for sheet metal workers, machinists, and truck drivers, among many others. Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings through retrofitting requires roofers, insulators, and building inspectors. Expanding mass transit systems employs civil engineers, electricians, and dispatchers.

“This green economic recovery program is part of a comprehensive low-carbon energy strategy and would be a down payment on a 10-year policy program recommended by the Center for American Progress, including the immediate adoption of a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as targeted standards and incentives to spur the transition to clean energy,” said Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress.

The green recovery program investments would fund:

  • $50 billion for tax credits. This would assist private businesses and homeowners to finance both commercial and residential building retrofits, as well as investments in renewable energy systems.
  • $46 billion in direct government spending. This would support public building retrofits, the expansion of mass transit, freight rail and smart electrical grid systems, and new investments in renewable energy.
  • $4 billion for federal loan guarantees. This would underwrite private credit that is extended to finance building retrofits and investments in renewable energy.

About the Authors: Robert Pollin is Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. James Heintz is Associate Research Professor and Associate Director of PERI. Heidi Garrett-Peltier and Helen Scharber are Ph.D. students in economics and research assistants at PERI.

PERI Contact: Debbie Zeidenberg, (413) 577-3147; dzeiden@peri.umass.edu

CAP Contact: John Neurohr, (202) 481-8182; jneurohr@americanprogress.org

ALSO NOTE: In little more than two weeks, people of all backgrounds, in all corners of the country, will organize events to demonstrate the reality and promise of green jobs. On Saturday, September 27, 1Sky, Green for All, and the We Campaign are joining with tens of thousands of Americans for Green Jobs Now: A Day to Build the New Economy. This day of action will make it clear that to the next president, Congress, and the nation that we are ready to build an inclusive green economy, strong enough to lift people out of poverty and solve the climate crisis. To learn more about Green Jobs Now go to: www.greenjobsnow.com

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or ashoup@americanprogress.org

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or cpatterson@americanprogress.org

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or mmeth@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or lhamilton@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org