In December, Environmental Entrepreneurs (a national non-partisan business group) and E4The Future (an energy efficiency advocacy group) released a report titled "Energy Efficiency Jobs in America."

The groups' combined research, which is based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as well as a survey of 20,000 businesses around the nation, found that energy efficiency is now one of the nation's largest job sectors, employing over 1.9 million people.

"This report is important to demonstrate that energy efficiency is a significant driver of jobs in the country, and often overlooked because it involves so many small businesses that incorporate energy efficiency as part of their portfolio," said Steve Cowell, president of E4TheFuture. "These jobs have been and should be recognized as part of the overall plan for a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally-beneficial energy strategy for our country, and should be supported by policy and investment strategies at the local, state and national levels."

Examples of jobs in this category, according to the report, include the manufacture and installation of high-efficiency lighting, Energy Star appliance manufacturing, and HVAC services to reduce wasted energy in homes, schools and businesses.

The 10 states with the most jobs related to energy efficiency are, in order, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, New York, Georgia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

"Every newly-elected lawmaker in Washington or in the statehouse needs to take note: If you truly want to create jobs and drive economic growth, you need to support strong energy efficient standards and policies," said Bob Keefe, E2's executive director. Smart policies helped create these 1.9 million energy efficiency jobs, and smart policies will keep these made-in-America jobs growing."

"Energy efficiency employers said they plan to hire more workers in the coming year, but they're also closely watching state and federal policies," said Philip Jordan, vice president and principal researcher at BW Research Partnership, the firm that conducted the survey of the 20,000 companies for the report.