At the end of February, Vermont’s unemployment rate registered 2.4 percent – the lowest in the nation. Now, with both Vermont and the nation headed for double-digit unemployment, the question of how to create durable, well-paying jobs will be as important as ever.
In this context, it is worth highlighting the importance of Vermont’s clean energy employment. As of 2019, Vermont had the highest share of clean energy jobs in the nation, at 6% of our workforce. Clean energy employment totaled just under 19,000 jobs in 2019, an increase of over 4,000 jobs since 2013. Additionally, the median wage for clean energy jobs in VT was over $7 an hour higher than the statewide median wage for all jobs ($26.71 vs. $19.10).
As Vermont begins to chart an economic recovery, we must sustain these vital jobs in the clean energy sector. We should also advance the win-win-win opportunity that a large-scale clean energy transformation provides: making Vermont’s economy more resilient by keeping energy dollars local and saving Vermonters money; creating more family-supporting, living-wage jobs; and reducing pollution.