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Workers in nuclear energy and fossil fuel industries earn higher wages than those in renewable energy sectors like wind and solar that are the focus of President Joe Biden’s plan to stimulate the U.S. economy and combat climate change, according to an analysis published on Tuesday.
The report comes a week after Biden’s administration rolled out a $2 trillion plan that includes billions to boost the market for clean energy technologies and create good-paying jobs while stripping away subsidies for fossil fuels. Its findings underscore the challenges here the United States will face replacing the quality of jobs lost in a move away from coal and oil.
Across the board, energy jobs pay about $25.60 an hour, 34 percent more than the median national hourly wage of $19.14, according to the report, a collaboration between workforce research firm BW Research Partnership, the National Association of State Energy Officials and the Energy Futures Initiative think tank, headed by Ernest Moniz, who was energy secretary in the Obama administration.
But there are wide discrepancies in hourly wages across various energy industries. Workers in nuclear, electric power transmission and distribution, natural gas and coal have the highest median hourly wages of the 10 energy industries analyzed in the report, ranging between $28.69 for coal jobs up to $39.19 for nuclear.
Wind and solar, meanwhile, boast median hourly wages of $25.95 and $24.48, respectively.
Sectors with more jobs in construction and manufacturing generally pay less than those in the utilities sector, the report said.
Utility jobs are more likely to be unionized, and union representation is correlated with higher wages and benefits, the report said. Data on unionization rates is inconsistent across federal agencies, however, and the report urged the government to gather more reliable data.
The report on wages in the energy sector relied on data from the U.S. Energy & Employment report series.
Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by David Gregorio
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