Energy construction saw healthy growth in 2022, generating more than 45,000 jobs and making up the second-fastest rising component of energy sector employment, said the latest U.S. Dept. of Energy jobs report—with 300,000 positions created overall last year for a 3.8% increase.
According to DOE's 2022 United States Energy and Employment Report, significant gains were made in several areas in energy construction last year, with the majority of new workers employed in energy efficiency work, an area where 23,729 new jobs were created, the report states.
In other energy construction job niches, electric power generation work generated more than 6,600 new jobs last year, with other growth in transmission, distribution, and storage, and fuels.
The industry has added back 596,000 of the 840,000 jobs lost during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, but their distribution was across technologies, primarily in new clean energy positions. says the report.
Clean energy jobs jumped by 3.9%, with 114,000 jobs added nationally, increasing to more than 40% of total energy jobs. Clean energy technologies, such as solar and wind, accounted for more than 84% of net new electric power generation jobs, with the 38,000 related to zero-emissions vehicles representing a nearly 21% increase, the report found.
Clean energy positions advanced in every state last year, with California, West Virginia and Texas leading the U.S. with a total of more than 25,000 new jobs, said DOE.
Last year continues a trend that started before COVID-19 in finding a qualified workforce, the report states. Union employers reported less difficulty finding workers than non-union employers, with 29% of union and 48% of non-union firms reporting the task as “very difficult."
“This difference was especially pronounced in the construction industry, where 31% of union construction employers reported that it was “very difficult” to find workers, compared to almost double the percentage (59%) of non-union employers,” the report states.
Overall, the energy sector has recovered 71% of jobs lost in 2020.
Employment in some fossil fuel industries witnessed a boost last year. The petroleum sector gained more than 58,000 jobs in 2022, while natural gas saw a jump of 51,000 new positions. But, the report states, “Fuels employment remained 117,094 jobs below the total reported in 2019.”
The report also found that the industry became just slightly more diverse in 2022. Women employed in the energy workforce grew by 7.8%, meaning women were hired for more than half the jobs added last year. The report did not offer a diversity breakdown for energy construction employment.
DOE highlighted several pieces of legislation in recent years aimed at increasing energy jobs, including those in construction. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act “are still in the design and planning phases, and the full job creation of these investments will likely show up in future surveys,” its report states.