The West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy's Ted Boettner notes, "While the Obama administration and the EPA may be taking a harder look at mountaintop-removal mining permits, a quick look at coal-mining employment in West Virginia reveals that since Obama took office in the winter of 2009 coal mining employment has grown by over 1,500 jobs or by 7.4 percent. If we measure from the end of the national recession in June 2009 (or the second quarter of 2009) to the third quarter of 2011 (the latest available data), employment in the coal mining industry has grown by 3,100. For comparison, total employment in West Virginia has only grown by 2.9 percent over this period." (Read more, with further links.)
Boettner writes that Obama may have little to do with the upswing. That has more to do with the price of coal, a steady decline in productivity and market volatility. But, he adds, any downward change in coal employment numbers in 2012 won't be then Obama's fault, either.