Top 6 Takeaways from the 2023 Clean Jobs Midwest Report

September 20, 2023
In 2022 there were almost 60,000 Minnesotans working in the clean energy industry. The Clean Jobs Midwest report shows that Minnesota is a leading source of clean energy jobs in the Midwest and is set to continue to grow the industry. Here are 6 top takeaways from this report.

2. Renewable generation jobs grew at a rate of 5.4% last year – the 3rd fastest growth in the Midwest.

Over 5,000 Minnesotans work in the largest subsector of renewable generation jobs, which is the solar energy industry, contributing to a 9.7% growth in this subsector. Workers in this subsector create the technology that goes inside of solar panels, install and preform maintenance on the panels as well as help connect the energy created by the solar panels to the pre-existing power grid. Workers in this sector do everything from utility-scale projects to residential installations.

Other subsectors within the renewable generation industry that had noticeable growth are:

  • Wind has over 2,750 workers who design, build and maintain wind turbines and energy connections.
  • Bioenergy has nearly 500 Minnesotans working as engineers, agricultural specialists and farmers.
  • Low-impact hydro technologies employs 200 people working to improve pre-existing non-hydroelectric dams to make them hydroelectric power generators as well as maintaining pre existing technologies used for hydro power.
  • Geothermal employs 140 Minnesotans as electricians, construction workers and engineers who build and work at geothermal power plants.
Job data by sector CJM 2023

4. 82% of employers said it was either very or somewhat difficult to hire in 2022.

While the number of workers in the clean energy industry continues to grow, there is ongoing difficulty in finding workers to fill jobs. Minnesota’s unemployment rate is very low at 2.2%, which is lower than the national unemployment rate of 3.8% (as of August 2023).

With this low unemployment rate, there has been increased competition within the hiring field. Through increasing investment into workforce development programs, Minnesota can be prepared to do the work needed to transition to a clean energy economy.

As of 2022, small businesses drive clean energy job growth with nearly 72% of clean energy jobs located at businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Continuing to support Minnesota’s small businesses ensures their success and the continued growth of clean energy jobs in the state.

clean energy workers on solar site

5. A growing number of clean energy workers can be found in Greater MN, including hubs in St. Cloud, Duluth and Rochester.

Greater MN social card

According to this year’s report, there is a growing number of clean energy workers in Greater Minnesota. There are over 9,000 workers in St. Cloud, Duluth and Rochester, all across different clean energy sectors. Fostering businesses, projects and the workforce in these areas, ensures continued growth for the state as a key player in the clean energy market.

  • St. Cloud has over 6,200 clean energy industry jobs, with the largest industry being Solar (2,704 jobs).
  • Duluth had the next highest number of clean energy jobs at 1,841, with 438 of those jobs being in the HVAC & Renewable heating and cooling subsector.
  • Rochester has over 1,500 clean energy jobs and the High Efficiency HVAC & Renewable H&C had the largest number of workers with 363 positions.

Clean Energy Economy Minnesota partners with the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and Evergreen Climate Innovations to produce and share the Minnesota Clean Jobs Report from Clean Jobs Midwest yearly to provide access and give insight to clean energy job growth within Minnesota.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Our monthly newsletter includes updates from the Capitol, the latest clean energy news and blogs and important information about upcoming events!