People are starting to think a whole lot greener and this mindset is having a major impact on the oil industry. While some of the largest oil companies on the planet are furiously cutting jobs to stay afloat, the solar industry is booming. In fact, if the number of new solar jobs keeps growing at the current rate, it will rise to the largest source of energy jobs by the end of 2016.
Numbers don’t lie and data provided to Fortune revealed that solar industry job listings currently compose 39% of global energy-related work on the job site, compared with 50% for oil jobs. It’s true that oil currently has the lead, but for the past two years, job postings for this industry have been declining by 12.6% quarterly, compared with an average 1.7% for solar jobs.
The solar industry has created one out of every 80 jobs in the U.S. since the financial crisis — and it’s just getting started. Wind energy is expected to power 5% of total electricity in the U.S. by this year and Midwestern winds will provide 40% of Iowa’s power by 2020.
Oil Industry on the Decline
The public’s increasing interest in renewable energy as a way to conserve natural resources and combat the effects of climate change have finally started to catch up with the oil industry. Once considered out of reach for most middle-income households, these days renewable energy is more affordable than ever. Many utility companies are making it easy and cost-effective for customers to power their homes and businesses with clean energy, by simply switching suppliers.
Changing customer priorities and increasingly low energy prices are crippling the once-thriving oil industry. A report issued in March revealed the total number of oil and gas rigs in the U.S. has dropped to 489 — the lowest level since 1999. In fact, this is merely one rig more than the lowest number ever recorded over a nearly 70-year span.
At its lowest point to-date, the price of a barrel of oil plunged more than 70% from June 2014 levels. Since the onset of the decline, nearly half the oil workers in the U.S. — an estimated 250,000 — have lost their jobs. Prices have been on a roller coaster over the past 12 months, but experts predict it will be years before a barrel can sell for $90 to $100 again, which was the standard for the past decade.
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