Report: Biofuel jobs up 2% in 2019

By Erin Voegele | April 15, 2020

The Energy Futures Initiative and the National Association of State Energy Officials recently published the 2020 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, which determined U.S. biofuel jobs grew by approximately 2 percent last year.

According to the report, corn ethanol jobs were down slightly in 2019. Wood biomass and other biofuels, however, added 775 jobs. As a result overall jobs in biofuels was up by nearly 2 percent.

Corn ethanol fuels employment represented 3 percent of the total U.S. fuels workforce in 2019, accounting for approximately 34,866 jobs in 2019, down 189 jobs when compared to 2018. The 34,866 jobs in corn ethanol included 15,419 jobs in agriculture, 9,968 jobs in manufacturing, 6,493 jobs in wholesale trade, 2,873 jobs in professional services, and 113 jobs in other services.

The report states that 82 percent of agriculture and forestry employers in corn ethanol reported that hiring was somewhat or very difficult. In addition, 82 percent of wholesale manufacturing employers reported that hiring new workers was somewhat difficult or very difficult in 2019.

According to the report, corn ethanol jobs are expected to grow 2 percent between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2020. Much of that growth is expected to be in wholesale, trade and distribution, which is expected to increase employment by 9 percent. Professional business services jobs are expected to increase by 2.5 percent. Corn ethanol jobs in agriculture and forestry and manufacturing are expected to be relatively flat.

Women represented 30 percent of the corn ethanol workforce last year, compared to 47 percent average in the national workforce. The report, however, indicates that veterans account for 19 percent of the corn ethanol workforce, significantly higher than the 6 percent national workforce average.

Data in the report shows that corn ethanol employment has fallen by 12,000 jobs, or 26 percent, between 2015 and 2019.

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