According to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, American wind power supported a record 88,000 jobs at the start of 2016 – an increase of 20% in a year. Strong job growth coincided with wind ranking No. 1 as America’s leading source of new generating capacity last year, outpacing solar and natural gas.
“Wind power benefits more American families than ever before,” says Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “We’re helping young people in rural America find a job close to home. Others are getting a fresh chance to rebuild their careers by landing a job in the booming clean energy sector. With long-term, stable policy in place, and a broader range of customers now buying low-cost, wind-generated electricity, our workforce can grow to 380,000 well-paying jobs by 2030.”
The job growth in 2015 is primarily attributable to more wind project development and construction, requiring more than 38,000 employees. The industry also experienced a stabilization of its manufacturing sector, which now supports over 21,000 jobs in 43 states – a more than 10% increase compared with last year. There are now more than 8,800 wind turbine technicians, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is the fastest-growing profession in the U.S.
Texas leads the nation with over 24,000 wind energy employees, while wind project construction put Oklahoma in second place with more than 7,000 jobs. Rounding out the top five are Iowa and Colorado with over 6,000 jobs each, and after moving up 11 spots, Kansas ranks fifth with over 5,000 wind workers. Maine gained the most in the state wind employment rankings, rising 16 spots.
You can read AWEA’s full U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report here.