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Michigan Green Jobs: State Ranks 12th For Environmentally-Friendly Jobs

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MICHIGAN GREEN JOBS
A rainbow is the backdrop for wind turbines at the Smoky Hill Wind Farm near Ellsworth, Kansas, Monday, February 20, 2012. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report in March 2012 showing 3.1 million people employed in green jobs nationwide as of 2010. There are approximately 80,000 Michigan green jobs. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) | AP

Want to work at a "green" company? In Michigan, you could be in luck.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from earlier this month, Michigan had the 12th highest number of people working in green jobs in 2010. A total of 2.1 percent of workers here had green jobs, or 79,771 of the total 3,770,225 jobs in the state.

BLS started tracking green jobs in 2010, defining them as postions in businesses that produce goods or services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. The data also includes jobs where workers are tasked with making their companies more environmentally friendly.

Environmental groups touted the 3.1 million green jobs nationwide as proof of their importance to the country's economic growth.

"It isn't just about keeping kids safe or the environment clean, it's about jobs ... it's about rebuilding our economy," Cai Steger, energy policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Associated Press.

Overall, green jobs make up about 2.4 percent of jobs nationwide. In Vermont green jobs were 4.4 percent of total work, while in Florida they were just 1.9 percent. With more than 300,000 green jobs, California was at the top of the list, followed by New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

In Michigan, where about 80 percent of jobs are in the private sector, construction and manufacturing account for a large share of the environmentally-conscious work.

The BLS data backs up what some have been saying about Michigan's green opportunities all along. In 2010, the think tank Center for American Progress put Detroit on its top five cities for green jobs.

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