US electric vehicle jobs exploded in 2021, clean energy jobs grew – and fossil fuel jobs shrunk

The US Department of Energy (DOE) today released the 2022 US Energy and Employment Report (USEER), which reveals that 2021 saw electric vehicle jobs increase by a whopping 26.2%, or 21,961, new jobs.

US electric vehicle jobs led 2021 energy sector growth

The 2022 USEER report shows that the energy sector – with the exception of fossil fuels – experienced positive job growth. Overall, the sector rose by 4% from 2020 to 2021, outpacing overall US employment, which grew 2.8% in the same period. The energy sector added more than 300,000 jobs, increasing the total number of energy jobs from 7.5 million in 2020 to more than 7.8 million in 2021.

In addition to the huge job growth in the full battery electric vehicle sector mentioned above, other vehicle sectors saw notable job growth as well:

  • Hybrid electric vehicle jobs increased 19.7%, adding 23,577 new jobs.
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicle jobs increased 30.9%, adding 14,790 jobs.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell jobs increased 41.4%, adding 4,160 jobs.

Fossil fuel jobs accounted for most of the fuel jobs lost:

  • Petroleum – both onshore and offshore – led losses with a decrease of 6.4%, shedding 31,593 jobs.
  • Coal fuel jobs declined by the greatest percentage, at 11.8%, losing 7,125 jobs.
  • Fuel extraction jobs overall decreased by 12%.

But, biofuels, including renewable diesel fuels, biodiesel fuels, and waste fuels, grew by 6.7%, adding 1,180 jobs.

When it came to electric power generation, renewables grew, and fossil fuel energy for electric power generation jobs either declined or grew at a slower pace than renewable energy jobs:

  • Coal power generation jobs decreased by 572 from 2020 to 2021, down 0.8%.
  • Natural gas and petroleum grew at slower rates (1.6% and 0.5%, respectively) than overall U.S. employment (2.8%).
  • Nuclear dropped 4.2%, losing 2,440 jobs.
  • Batteries jumped 4.4% with 2,949 jobs.
  • Smart grids increased 4.9% to 1,136 jobs.
  • Solar energy jobs increased by 5.4%, adding 17,212 new jobs.
  • Wind energy jobs increased by 2.9%, adding 3,347 new jobs.
  • Energy efficiency jobs increased by 2.7%, adding 57,741 new jobs.

Sierra Club Director of Labor and Economic Justice Program Derrick Figures issued the following statement in response to the report’s findings:

Time and again, we’re reminded of the near limitless potential of the clean energy industry – potential that will only be realized by bold investments that ensures equitable growth. Today’s Department of Energy report is perhaps the most detailed reminder yet of what this sector could become when Congress passes bold investments in clean energy.

Electrek’s Take

The numbers tell the story.

When organic demand is combined with support from the financial sector and government policy that supports EVs and clean energy, growth happens, despite the challenges of the pandemic and supply chain issues.

Demand will continue to grow, but we’ll see what federal policy brings, as November elections may bring changes both at the federal and state levels.

Read more: US Dept of Energy announces $3 billion toward EV battery manufacturing and supply chain


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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.