CLEVELAND -- While Ohio has lost industrial jobs for years, employment at businesses focused on conservation and alternative energy grew here by the fourth-highest margin of any state in the nation through 2007, according to a study a nonprofit group released Friday.

The report, prepared by Pew Charitable Trusts and its environmental group, also put the state at the sixth spot nationally as of 2007 in terms of green businesses launched. And it pegged Ohio as No. 17 in venture capital investments in green technology between 2006 and 2008, an index of how much money channeled into new environmental business creation.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, speaking by phone from Washington as part of the study's unveiling, thanked "the entrepreneurs and innovators who are moving this economy and getting Ohio prepared with alternative energy and clean energy." He said the state will "see even better things in the future" in developing what he called the green manufacturing economy.

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