DOE report predicts job growth in biofuels sector

By Erin Voegele | July 22, 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy on July 19 released its 2021 U.S. Energy Employment Report, which shows jobs in biobased fuels fell last year, but at a lower rate than overall job losses in the U.S. fuel sector.

The U.S. fuels sector lost 211,201 jobs last year, an 18.4 percent decline. The steepest loses were in the oil and gas sectors, which lost nearly 21 percent of jobs. Jobs in biofuels, however, fell less precipitously. Corn ethanol employment declined by about 4 percent, or 1,360 jobs, while woody biomass and other biofuels declined by about 5 percent, or 3,571 jobs.

The DOE reports employment in corn ethanol was at 33,506 last year, down 1,360. Employment in wood biomass was at 32,442, down 985. Employment in “other ethanol” fell 1,239 jobs to 19,455, while jobs in other categories of biofuel fell 1,348 to 17,581.

Employers in the corn ethanol fuels industry expect 9 percent growth in 2020. Much of that growth is anticipated by employers in the manufacturing and professional services sectors who expect 11 percent and 17 percent growth, respectively.

Other ethanol and non-woody biomass fuels, including biodiesel, employed about 2 percent of the U.S. fuels workforce last year, accounting for 19,455 jobs. Unemployment was down 6 percent, or 1,239 jobs, when compared to 2019.

Other ethanol and non-woody biomass fuels employers are expecting nearly 7 percent job growth in 2020, with those hiring growth expectations concentrated in other and professional services.

Woody biomass fuel for energy and cellulosic biofuels supported 32,442 jobs in the U.S. last year, accounting for 3.5 percent of the U.S. fuels workforce, down 985 jobs from 2019.

Woody biomass fuels employers are expecting 7 percent job growth in 2021, led by professional business services. However, the largest sector, agriculture and forestry, expects a slight decline in 2021.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the DOE website


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