Jordan Weismann of the Atlantic puts together a graph that shows how construction had the worst percentage loss of jobs in the country, over one in four jobs lost in total. He writes:
The recession and painstakingly slow recovery have absolutely slammed industries traditionally dominated by high school educated males. Both in relative and absolute terms, they've seen the worst of this economy. And four years after things began to slide, those workers are still in a lot of pain.
One would have thought that green building and energy retrofitting might have been a good place to do some effective job creating, and indeed that was the plan with the Home Star Act of 2010, which would have put six billion dollars into energy retrofits. It was, as Brian noted, a "complete no-brainer" of a bill. But it was filibustered and killed by the Senate Republicans, who don't care about jobs, just their taxes.
Now we have President Obama's plan for energy upgrades to Federal buildings " using long term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers". Brian quotes Bill Clinton: "It's a no-brainer".
The job loss data are truly shocking. Mining and logging are the only industries with increased employment, as Americans become hewers of wood and drawers of water for the Chinese. Construction, which is needed if we are going to do anything about the energy consumption of our buildings, and which is just about the only industry that can't be offshored, is ignored.
I have noted before that most building materials are still pretty much made in America, and that renovation work is about 70% labor, so that a buck spent on energy retrofits is pretty much a buck spent in the USA. President Obama and former President Clinton have both noted that energy retrofits pretty much pay for themselves. It's time to bring back Cash for Caulkers and put these people back to work.