Uncertainty about the trade case in the USA had an impact on solar jobs growth 2017

The US solar industry employment declined in 2017, while jobs increased in numerous states with emerging solar markets, according to the »National Solar Jobs Census 2017« released by the independent nonprofit organization »Solar Foundation«. The Solar Jobs Census found that 250,271 Americans work in solar as of 2017, representing a 3.8 percent decline, or about 9,800 fewer jobs, since 2016. This is the first year that jobs have decreased since the Solar Jobs Census was first released in 2010, says the foundation.
However, the long-term trend continues to show significant jobs growth. The solar workforce increased by 168 percent in the past seven years, from about 93,000 jobs in 2010 to over 250,000 jobs in 2017. Additionally, solar jobs increased in 29 states and the District of Columbia in 2017. States with significant job gains include Utah, Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee. California remains the state with the largest number of solar jobs nationwide, but jobs in California decreased 14 percent in 2017. In Massachusetts, the state with the second largest solar workforce, employment decreased by 21 percent. »After six years of rapid and steady growth, the solar industry faced headwinds that led to a dip in employment in 2017, including a slowdown in the pace of new solar installations,« said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation. »Uncertainty over the outcome of the trade case also had a likely impact on solar jobs growth.«
According to the key findings, demand-side sectors (installation, sales and distribution, and project development) make up almost 78 percent of overall solar industry employment, while manufacturing makes up 15 percent. Demand-side sectors lost approximately 7,500 jobs in 2017, while manufacturing lost about 1,200 jobs. Women made up 27 percent of the solar workforce in 2017, down one percent from 2016. Veterans made up 9 percent of solar workers, which is 2 percent more than the overall US workforce. Solar employs twice as many workers as the coal industry, almost five times as many as nuclear power, and nearly as many workers as the natural gas industry.

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