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Employment in electric power generation falls more than 100,000 since 2001

October 15, 2015

Employment in electric power generation fell from 278,387 in 2001 to 160,802 in 2014. That 42-percent decline resulted in part from energy efficiency improvements and growth in renewable sources, such as wind and solar.  More than half the jobs lost were in hydroelectric power generation; employment in this industry fell from 69,346 in 2001 to 5,821 in 2014.

Employment in electric power generation, 2001–2014, annual averages
Industry 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Total

278,387 270,983 255,056 247,528 237,817 236,629 234,036 237,575 238,714 169,294 166,099 164,100 162,291 160,802

Hydroelectric

69,346 67,461 53,457 50,143 43,211 39,432 38,203 38,649 37,890 7,045 5,832 5,937 6,006 5,821

Fossil fuel

153,591 148,471 141,048 135,586 132,966 134,902 133,650 137,432 137,072 101,324 100,967 98,630 97,748 98,835

Nuclear

45,312 45,457 50,675 52,029 52,331 53,396 52,968 51,479 53,080 52,582 52,686 52,182 50,530 47,413

Solar

                    533 735 1,231 1,631

Wind

                    2,972 3,190 3,176 3,411

Geothermal

                    1,049 1,067 1,094 1,126

Biomass

                    1,263 1,323 1,454 1,513

Other

                    798 1,037 1,052 1,052

Employment in fossil fuel power generation, which includes electricity from coal and natural gas power plants, fell 54,756 from 2001 to 2014. In 2014, employment in nuclear power remained above the 2001 level.

Since 2011, employment rose in wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. Among those industries, solar experienced the largest job gain, from 533 in 2011 to 1,631 in 2014. While the rate of job growth in wind power was slower than solar, employment in wind power was more than double that of solar in 2014.

These data are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program. For more information about employment and wages in electric power generation and other industries, see the QCEW data viewer tool.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment in electric power generation falls more than 100,000 since 2001 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/employment-in-electric-power-generation-falls-more-than-100000-since-2001.htm (visited November 11, 2019).

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