Monday, March 07, 2016

County-level data show where the most coal jobs have been lost; Central Appalachia hit the hardest

County-level data show that Central Appalachian coal jobs continue to disappear, with Kentucky losing 53 percent of its mining jobs since the end of 2011 and West Virginia losing 41 percent, Taylor Kuykendall and Hira Fawad report for SNL Energy. Lost jobs are largely blamed on cheaper natural gas and the Obama administration's environmental regulations. (SNL Energy map: 25 counties with the biggest coal job losses; click on it for a larger version)

Of the 25 U.S. counties that have lost the most coal jobs since 2011, 17 are in Kentucky and West Virginia. Boone County, West Virginia has suffered the most losses, falling from an average of 4,608 at the end of 2011 to 1,439 at the end of 2015.  Pike County, Kentucky, lost 1,837 mining jobs.

Boone County resident Charlotte Kinser, whose husband is a former miner, told SNL Energy that she wishes the federal government would just "let the coal run so we can survive. It puts a big distress on the whole state, not just your little coal communities. Our schools down in Boone County are having to combine because they don't have any revenue money. People are just out of work. They want to talk about drugs? No wonder people are on drugs. They're depressed! My God, people have no job!" (SNL Energy graphic: 25 counties that have lost the most coal jobs; click on it for a larger version)

Central Appalachia has lost 18.6 percent of its coal jobs since the end of 2014, from an average of 22,360 at the end of 2014 to 17,175 at the end of 2015, reports SNL Energy. Southern Appalachia has lost 14.55 percent, Northern Appalachia 13.65 percent and the Illinois Basin 10.7 percent. From the end of 2011 to the end of 2015, the average number of U.S. coal jobs dropped from 93,735 to 61,024, with 12,734 of those losses since the end of 2014. "A decline in production has been less steady, but fourth-quarter 2015 production of 207.4 million tons of coal is the lowest that production has hit yet after sliding off a near-term high of 282.5 million tons in the fourth quarter of 2011." (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you sure the data is valid? I find it hard to believe that Pike county lost 1,837 job but increased production from (Q4/11) 3.78m tons to a (Q4/15) production level of 34.54m tons, and Campbell WV went from 104.76m tons down to 1.44m tons, during the same period.