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Of the 33 million Americans who have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus crisis began, many expect to get their jobs back—in one recent poll, 77% of workers who have been laid off or furloughed say that they expect their employers to rehire them. But economists say that may be overly optimistic; some jobs won’t survive, and new ones will need to be created to replace them. As Congress debates more stimulus funding, one of the best ways to add new jobs may be to invest in green infrastructure.

“Jobs in the low-carbon sector have been growing at a much faster pace than overall employment, and they are expected to have dramatic growth going into the future,” says Devashree Saha, a senior associate at the nonprofit World Resources Institute (WRI). “In a situation like today, with unemployment rising, significant investment in clean energy and other low-carbon sectors as part of the economic recovery is a very effective way to create jobs in the near term.”

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