Economy Hemorrhages Mining Jobs

Nov 6, 2012

The Shay coal mine in Carlinville, IL. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

A stat in the October job numbers that popped out to me was the 9,000 mining jobs lost in one month. Lachlan Markay at The Heritage Foundation noted that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mining jobs have decreased by 17,000 since May.

That means over half of those mining job losses happened in one month.


As you can see from this chart, the number of mining jobs reached a 2012 high point in May then began tumbling. It happens that in March, EPA released its proposed greenhouse gas rules.

When you read news reports about layoffs from CONSOL Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, and Arch Coal you see coal mining in particular is getting hit hard.

There’s no doubt that some of this is because of the increasing supply and low price of natural gas, but two rules in particular, Utility MACT (i.e. the “Blackout Rule”) and proposed greenhouse gas rules are forcing electricity producers to look for coal alternatives and costing coal jobs.

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