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Measuring Green Industry Employment: Developing a Definition of Green Goods and Services

Richard L. Clayton, Kristin Fairman, and Donald Haughton


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) intends to publish detailed economic statistics on industry employment in the green goods and services sector in the United States. This required BLS to adopt a definition of green goods and services. This paper reviews the process used by BLS to define green goods or services. This process began with an extensive review of definitions used in existing green data publications and studies from various agencies, including State governments, Eurostat, Statistics Canada, and private research institutions. With an understanding of the definitions from existing literature and after discussions with various environmental and government organizations, BLS reviewed each North American Industrial Classification System industry code to identify each industry’s potential to produce green goods or services. This industry review led to the publication of a preliminary Federal Register Notice (FRN) with the BLS proposed definition for a green good or service. After reviewing input received from the public, BLS revised and published a final FRN with the definition of green goods and services that BLS intends to use in its green data collection activities.