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Expand chart
Adapted from Brookings; Chart: Axios Visuals

Employment in low-carbon energy fields is better-paid than average jobs and is widely available to workers without college degrees, a new Brookings Institution analysis shows.

But, but, but: These sectors — clean energy production, efficiency, and environmental management — are "dominated" by men, skew older, and some lack racial diversity, the study finds.

Why it matters: The report provides a highly granular look at the workforce characteristics in fast-growing, low-carbon energy sectors that already employ several million people combined.

  • It arrives amid the political rise of the Green New Deal — a concept that marries huge investments in clean energy with a goal of ensuring that marginalized communities share the benefits.

Here are a few top-line findings:

  • The wage difference is real. Check out the chart above. "The hourly differences between a clean energy economy occupation and one elsewhere in the economy can equate to a raise between 8 and 19 percent, if not more," the study states.
  • You often don't need advanced degrees. "Workers with no more than a high school diploma fill over half of all energy efficiency occupations, while 45 percent of workers in clean energy production occupations share this distinction."
  • Inclusion is a problem. As of 2016, less than 20% of workers in clean energy production and efficiency were women. African Americans have a smaller share of jobs in those 2 sectors than in the overall economy, although it's above the national average in environmental management.

What's next: The report lays out recommendations — some built on what's already happening — for how to make these industries more inclusive, train younger people, and generally help policymakers, educational institutions and businesses prepare the workforce. These include...

  • "Modernizing and emphasizing" energy science curricula at all schooling levels, such as programs now available for 2-year associates' degrees in efficiency and renewables.
  • Regional initiatives and public-private collaboration on job training and aligning education with local clean energy industries.
  • Expanded efforts to reach underrepresented workers and students for recruitment and training. For instance, they cite the tech-focused Black Girls Code program as a model.

The bottom line: “This is a very accessible blue/green collar sector in many respects — widely distributed in both red and blue places, accessible to an inordinate number of people who don’t have a college degree, and a genuine opportunity for all kinds of workers,” co-author Mark Muro said.

  • But Muro, an expert in industrial transitions, also told Axios: “We won’t just naturally get a more diverse clean energy workforce. It is going to require active effort.”

Go deeper: Renewable energy is on the rise, but it has a long way to go

Go deeper

Scramble over gas for EU as Russia threatens Ukraine

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.
Kate Marino, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views of their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of canceled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.

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