FILE - Clean Energy Wind Turbines

In this Jan. 13, 2021, file photo, wind turbines are silhouetted against the sky at dawn near Spearville, Kan. 

(The Center Square) – The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Midwest clean energy job market hard, with more than 17,000 workers at one point filing for unemployment.

But the industry appears to be rebounding, according to an analysis of employment data released by the nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and Clean Energy Trust.

Clean energy companies employed 113,456 Michiganders at the end of 2020, a 9.5% drop from 2019 and the first year-over-year decline since Clean Jobs Midwest began tracking Michigan clean energy jobs in 2017.

But Michigan’s clean energy sector grew by 20.4% in the second half of the year.

The number of hybrid vehicle manufacturing employees grew by 3.4%  to 11,524 workers.

Electric-vehicle (EV) sector jobs grew by 6.3% to 5,948 workers, and are poised for future growth if vehicle manufacturers like Ford and General Motors fulfill major promises. Wind energy jobs grew by 3% to 4,967 workers.

While big cities like Detroit (50,229) and Grand Rapids (9,546) are some of the largest hubs for clean energy jobs, almost 20% or more than 22,500 jobs are located in rural areas.

The clean energy jobs, broken down by the report, are:

  • 74,242: energy efficiency.
  • 10,767: renewable energy
  • 24,168: Advanced transportation
  • 3,579: grid and storage
  • 600: clean fuels

The report comes as Congress and President Joe Biden's administration considers legislation to spend billions in clean energy and clean vehicles.

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.