Report: Most States Lost Coal Jobs in 2017

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Reuters obtained a copy of an unreleased report from the federal government that shows most states lost coal mining jobs in 2017, Trump's first year in office.

The industry gained just over 771 jobs in 2017, but most of them were concentrated in a single state (West Virginia) while most others states shed hundreds of jobs.

The industry also lost jobs in other Appalachian states like Ohio, Kentucky, and Maryland; the western Powder River Basin states Montana and Wyoming; as well as in several other states like Indiana, New Mexico, and Texas.

Texas lost the largest number, at 455, and Ohio was a close second, losing 414, according to the data.

Pennsylvania, which gained 96 jobs in 2017, is also expected to go negative soon after Dana Mining announced this month it would close a mine employing about 400 people.

According to the government report, the new jobs in West Virginia and other nearby states were the result of new operations aimed at exporting metallurgical coal that's used to produce steel rather than provide energy for coal-fired power plants. The metallurgical coal is being exported to countries such as China which is mass producing cheap steel.

It's funny when you think about it. The American steel industry is angry at the Trump regime at the moment because it has done nothing to protect American producers from cheap Chinese or Russian imports, but the American coal industry is partially responsible for the cheap imports from China.

Everything is connected in the modern global economy and Trump has no idea what he's doing.

It would be fair to say the Trump regime has done almost everything in can for the coal industry in terms of regulations, but that was never the reason why the industry is dying. The "war on coal" was a lie. Trump swooping in to save the industry was a lie. Rolling back regulations isn't going to give anyone a job, it's just going to line the pockets of coal barons before the last mine finally closes.

  • muselet

    Coal is dead. Full stop.

    That’s been unarguably true for more than a decade. Natural gas is far cheaper, easier (and somewhat less destructive, even considering the groundwater pollution inherent with fracking) to extract, cleaner to burn, and it’s significantly less likely the people responsible for finding and exploiting it will die horrible deaths.

    And even natural gas is on borrowed time. The cost of renewables, even if we ignore incentives and subsidies, is dropping fast, and storage technology is also advancing quickly.

    Did Donald Trump lie to all those coal miners? Probably not, because it’s unlikely he had (or has) any meaningful grasp on the realities of the energy market, but he definitely misled them. And they willingly let themselves be misled.


  • Draxiar

    “So for example, I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right?

    And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories.

    Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.”

    ~Hillary Clinton

    This should be on a billboard going into every town whose citizens depend on coal jobs that are now getting punked by trump’s empty promises. The choice was clear and one line out of context totally screwed these people…and yes, it’s partly their fault. They heard what they wanted to hear.

    • ninjaf

      That whole bit should have been on every single commercial break in coal country during the campaign. It should have been played so much that everyone should be able to recite it from memory.

      • Draxiar

        Could not agree more. Democrats need to get some bloody knuckles in the election this year…especially with tv ads.

  • The fact that his supporters THINK he knows anything and count on him to save their jobs or make even basic economic decisions to the country’s benefit just kills me. The man is a moron.

    • Tony Lavely

      And the current NYT articles reporting the feelings of Trump’s supporters in Iowa and Indiana… Just insane. To listen to them, we should appoint him for life plus 75 years.

      • I can’t bring myself to read them. It’s too depressing.

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