Government Accountability Office Report on Green Jobs

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from NCPA,

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report announcing that the “[Department of] Labor’s Green Jobs Efforts Highlight Challenges of Targeted Training Programs for Emerging Industries… Of the $595 million identified by Labor as having been appropriated or allocated specifically for green jobs activities since 2009, approximately $501 million (85%) went toward efforts with training and support services as their primary objective,” says Benjamin Zycher, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that total green employment increased by about 158,000 jobs between 2010 and 2011. The real problem is definitional: Of that total increase, 102,000 jobs were in construction, largely as a result of changes in the “energy efficiency” of construction materials.

The creation of “green jobs” as a side effect of various policies is a benefit for the workers hired (or for those whose wages rise with increased market competition for their services). But for the economy as a whole, that use of scarce labor is a cost because those workers no longer would be available for productive activity elsewhere.

In short, an expanding “green” sector must be accompanied by a decline in other sectors, whether relative or absolute, and creation of “green jobs” must be accompanied by destruction of jobs elsewhere.

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