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Interest strong in solar and wind

There’s an overabundance of information and statistics relating to the economy, industry, jobs and the business sector that’s available via online. So much so that it can be a challenge to figure out what’s really important or pertinent and what isn’t.

From our perspective, this qualifies as the former.

An associate editor working for Yahoo Finance decided recently to dig through data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to figure out some of the fastest-growing jobs in each state in the country, with a focus on the ones at the top of the list.

What was discovered? In many states, blue-collar jobs were the biggest gainers, especially in construction and energy-related fields.  Several positions topped the chart in multiple states, reflecting industry, regulatory, and cultural shifts

What we found interesting was that jobs for solar panel installers — also known as photovoltaic installers — were the fastest growing positions in eight states: California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, and New Jersey. Average pay for those jobs, according to Yahoo, is $18.98 per hour.

What about Nebraska? It was listed as one of four states in which wind turbine technicians were the fastest growing positions. The Cornhusker State was joined by Texas, Colorado and Iowa in that regard. Average pay for those jobs? Almost $26 per hour.

Other fast-growing jobs in other states included statisticians, biomedical engineers, oil derrick operators and home health aides.

But for those Northeast and North Central Nebraskans who are watching with interest — and, perhaps, involvement — with the growing presence of wind farms and, to a lesser extent, solar farms, the statistics give credence to what many believe. It’s that wind and solar have a strong future in various parts of the nation, including Nebraska and Iowa.

For those who have doubts, there should be some reassurance in that regulations governing their development are largely controlled locally. Madison County recently adopted new regulations for solar and wind. Pierce County has done the same. Stanton County has basically banned wind farm development. While their approaches are vastly different, the common denominator is that it is locally elected officials who are making those decisions.

We’re among those interested in seeing more wind and solar development in this corner of the state. The new jobs findings only reinforce that we’re not alone in that.

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Jimmy Johns

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