Will Blue Really Turn Green?

We’ve been hearing a lot about how the green-collar economy will save the blue-collar economy (and to a lesser extent the white-collar economy) for many years now. But with unemployment at distressingly high levels, I say in my well-worn “indignant” tone: Where’s the grass-fed beef? (Apologies to those under 30).

Well, I think it’s safe to say that we’re not where we thought we’d be at this point. I blame it mostly on the credit crunch. But the federal stimulus is helping to create some green jobs. And once the economy picks up, I expect the dam to burst and the rushing waters of green-collar employment to wash over America (yikes, bad metaphor… sounds a tad apocalyptic, but you catch my drift).

This article shows how green investment and subsidies are at least getting some people back to work in the Philadelphia area. Even the unions, who are by no means prone to spontaneous tree-hugging, are down with the green, because they see the opportunities for job creation for their memberships.

However, one passage in the article shows that green is not yet a panacea:

Rutgers University economist James W. Hughes said green industries “could be a significant source of growth.” Hughes, however, said such jobs would never replace the more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs New Jersey has lost from its peak.

Green will be the economic engine that takes us through the 2010s, but it still needs a lot of fueling for it to really get rolling if we’re ever to approach our nation’s mid-20th century middle-class glory.

Posted by Joe Paone

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