Report: Green jobs are more resilient in the recession

The Bellingham HeraldFebruary 15, 2009 

BELLINGHAM, Wash. _ Wes Herman's company is in a situation that seems a bit unusual these days: With all the problems swirling around in today's economic recession, he's in a hiring and expansion mode.

"We're not just hiring because we're opening stores, but because of the growth at existing stores," said Herman, the owner of The Woods Coffee. His seven-year-old company will soon open its ninth Whatcom County coffee shop and currently employs about 100 people. It needs to hire about 15 people now, and is planning to hire more later this year.

"With all of the bad news these days, I'm grateful to be in this position," Herman said.

Job layoffs have been the biggest economic news for the first six weeks of 2009, but so far it's been an uneven transition regarding who is suddenly out of work. A new state report has identified which jobs are the safest bets to weather the current recession, and which are the most vulnerable.

According to the report from Washington Employment Security Department, health care, education and "green" jobs _ including positions focused on finding new solutions for energy needs _ are expected to be the most recession-resistant in 2009. The industries expected to be the most vulnerable this year are construction, manufacturing, finance, insurance and retail. For details of the report, visit and hit the "Washington Labor Market Quarterly Review, 4th Quarter 2008" link.

Even in the hard-hit industries, however, there will be companies able to thrive, such as Herman's coffee company in retail or Aluminum Chambered Boats in manufacturing, which continues to look for welders and riggers for its projects, said company founder Larry Wieber.

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