The latest clean energy jobs report from the International Renewable Energy Agency showed higher employment in the industry than previous estimates suggested. IRENA's 2014 Annual Report estimated that 6.5 million people are currently employed in renewables worldwide, about 625,000 of whom are in the U.S.
Employment in renewables is growing in the U.S., but it still lags behind China and Brazil. Solar is by far the strongest U.S. clean energy job creator, particularly through photovoltaic development and installation. The solar sector employed nearly 143,000 Americans in 2013. Photovoltaic jobs reportedly made up most of the recent gains, due to solar panels' dropping prices. Nearly half of all solar industry jobs were found in photovoltaic panel installation. Overall, the sector gained 24,000 jobs throughout the year, a 20 percent increase over 2012's employment.
According to AG Professional, the previous estimate had put renewable energy employment at 5 million in 2012. The news source's analysis of the report found decreasing job numbers in wind power and biofuels. Falling installation rates drove wind employment from 80,700 in 2012 to 50,500 in 2013. Rising livestock feed costs and supply chain turbulence reportedly cost the ethanol industry jobs as well.