GGS FAQs

 

What is the Green Goods and Services Survey?

The Green Goods and Services (GGS) survey is based on a sample of approximately 120,000 worksites throughout the United States. The primary statistics derived from the survey are annual estimates of employment in industries producing green goods or providing green services.

The GGS survey provides data on the number of jobs related to production of green goods and services, total and by industry and by ownership (public and private), for the nation, States, and the District of Columbia.

Forms for the GGS survey vary by industry and correspond to various North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Examples of the survey can be found at http://www.bls.gov/respondents/ggs/forms.htm

What is the GGS definition of green goods and services?

The BLS definition of green goods and services includes jobs in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. These goods and services are sold to customers, and include research and development, installation, and maintenance services. This definition will be used in the BLS survey of establishments in industries that produce green goods and services. Green goods and services fall into one or more of the following five categories:

  1. Energy from renewable sources. Electricity, heat, or fuel generated from renewable sources. These energy sources include wind, biomass, geothermal, solar, ocean, hydropower, and landfill gas and municipal solid waste.
  2. Energy efficiency. Products and services that improve energy efficiency. Included in this group are energy-efficient equipment, appliances, buildings, and vehicles, as well as products and services that improve the energy efficiency of buildings and the efficiency of energy storage and distribution, such as Smart Grid technologies.
  3. Pollution reduction and removal, greenhouse gas reduction, and recycling and reuse. These are products and services that:
    • Reduce or eliminate the creation or release of pollutants or toxic compounds, or remove pollutants or hazardous waste from the environment.
    • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions through methods other than renewable energy generation and energy efficiency, such as electricity generated from nuclear sources.
    • Reduce or eliminate the creation of waste materials; collect, reuse, remanufacture, recycle, or compost waste materials or wastewater.
  4. Natural resources conservation. Products and services that conserve natural resources. Included in this group are products and services related to organic agriculture and sustainable forestry; land management; soil, water, or wildlife conservation; and storm water management.
  5. Environmental compliance, education and training, and public awareness. These are products and services that:
    • Enforce environmental regulations.
    • Provide education and training related to green technologies and practices.
    • Increase public awareness of environmental issues.

What North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes are considered green according to the BLS GGS survey definition?

BLS has identified 325 detailed industries (6-digit NAICS) as potential producers of green goods and services. This industry list (PDF) (XLS) constitutes the scope for the GGS survey. Within these industries, the survey will identify establishments that produce green goods and services and estimate the number of jobs associated with the production of green goods and services.

How is GGS employment measured?

Not all employment at an establishment is considered green according to the GGS definition. GGS includes employees that are directly working on production of the green goods or services, as well as those providing administrative and support services toward the production of the green goods or services. For example, in an establishment that produces both green and non-green products, according to the GGS definition, only the employment associated with the green product and its related support services is counted as green.

Establishments responding to the GGS survey were asked to provide a share of revenue for their green goods or services. This revenue share was applied to the establishment's total employment to obtain the establishment's green employment. If the establishment that produces both green and non-green products employs 100 people and obtains 40 percent of its revenue from the sale of its green products, the BLS would count 40 of that establishment's employees as green. Establishments that have no revenue, such as non-profit organizations or government agencies, are asked to provide a share of employment involved in the production of green goods or green services.

The data collection forms, found here http://www.bls.gov/respondents/ggs/forms.htm, show how BLS captures this information to measure green employment.

Why is BLS using the share of revenue to estimate green employment?

If a business establishment produces a single good or service, that is green according to the BLS definition, all jobs in that establishment will be counted as green jobs, including production, management, and administrative staff. For sampled establishments that produce more than one good or service, the GGS survey will capture the share of establishment revenue received from the sale of green goods and services (employment share will be used for establishments with little or no revenue from sale of products or services). BLS will use the revenue share as a proxy for the share of the establishment's employment associated with the production of green goods and services. BLS research and field tests of the GGS survey forms to date indicate businesses are unlikely to be able to report shares of employment related to the green good or service and that revenue share is both a reasonable proxy and collectable.

Where does GGS get an establishment's employment data?

GGS uses the employment data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, the business register maintained by BLS.

Does the GGS survey sample include small firms?

Yes; about 40 percent of the establishment survey sample is comprised of business establishments with fewer than 20 employees.

Are self-employed workers included in the BLS count of green jobs?

No. Since the survey's sample frame, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages business register, only comprises establishments that contribute unemployment insurance taxes, self-employed workers are excluded from the BLS count of green jobs. The sample frame contained 95.3 percent of civilian wage and salary employment in 2010.

Will BLS miss jobs related to green goods and services produced by establishments classified in NAICS that are not on the industry list?

Establishments are classified into NAICS industries based on the goods or services that account for the majority of their revenue. Establishments that are not classified in an industry on the BLS list of industries that potentially produce green goods and services will not be included in the green goods and services survey. If a minority of their revenue is from the sale of green goods or services, these goods or services and the jobs related to them will not be identified. BLS is aware of this limitation and notes that the size of this limitation is unknown.

In some industries, green employment is small. How does BLS ensure it captures the green employment in those industries?

In order for BLS to ensure that it captures employment in industries with small amounts of green employment, the sample is supplemented with establishments known to produce green goods and services. These establishments are sampled with a higher probability of selection.

Does the GGS survey capture all green jobs?

No. The GGS survey only captures employment at establishments that produce green goods or provide green services. There are jobs in establishments responsible for making that establishment more green regardless of the product or service that establishment provides. These green practices jobs will be captured in the BLS Green Technologies and Practices (GTP) Survey. For more information on the GTP survey, see www.bls.gov/green.

What data does the GGS survey produce?

The GGS survey provides data on the number of jobs related to production of green goods and services, total and by industry and by ownership (public and private), for the Nation, States, and the District of Columbia.

How does BLS determine if a good is green or not?

BLS is using Federal product ratings or standards, where they exist, to determine which goods and services to include as green goods and services. Such standards provide an objective method to distinguish green goods and services from other similar goods or services. These standards also help BLS assist respondents with determining which goods and services they produce should be reported on the survey, and communicate to data users what products and services are represented in the resulting data on associated jobs.

Examples of such Federal standards include USDA Certified Organic and Energy Star. Well established and widely recognized industry standards also are used to the extent they are objective and measurable. An example of such an industry standard is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. A potential limitation of using these types of labeling programs is that they are voluntary and some employers may not participate, although they may meet the standards.

What is the difference between the Green Technologies and Practices (GTP) survey and the Green Goods and Services (GGS) survey? Can I compare or combine data from the two surveys?

The GGS and GTP surveys are based on two distinct concepts and are not designed to be comparable. GTP employment is an estimate of the number of jobs in which workers spend more than half of their time involved in technologies and practices that make their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources. The GTP estimate is a measure of the BLS process approach to green jobs. The separate Green Goods and Services (GGS) survey measures the output approach to green jobs by identifying establishments that produce green goods and services. The GGS measure of green employment is based on the proportion of revenue the establishment derives from producing green goods and services. The GGS employment estimate includes the workers directly involved in producing such goods and services as well as other employees of the establishment.

Jobs captured by the GGS and GTP surveys may overlap in establishments that produce green goods and services using green technologies and practices. The extent of the overlap is unknown.

Because the GGS and GTP surveys are based on different concepts and may overlap, users should not sum the estimates to get a count of total green employment, nor should they consider the two estimates a range of the number of green jobs. Users should decide which of the approaches best suits their analytical needs. GTP and GGS estimates cannot be compared to each other to provide a measure of the change in green employment over time.

Last Modified Date: March 19, 2013