Coal Jobs Are Not Returning

Total US Coal Jobs: 65,971 (Total in 2015) & 74,931 (Total in 2014). Representing a -12.0 change. Source: EIA Coal Job Survey. I am not the bad guy here, just the voice of economic realism. Coals jobs are not coming back. If you see that as a downside then the upside is that coal is at least back in the vocabulary of the American news media. That should lend to more activity in the industry.


• The Economics Are Against The Jobs: Coal is simply not cost-competitive with other fuels in generating electricity — primarily cheap and plentiful natural gas as a result of the shale gas revolution, which has resulted in massive displacement of coal-fired generation by highly efficient, natural gas-fired combustion turbines. Coal has declined from its historically dominant position — from 2000 to 2008, coal supplied about 50 percent of U.S. power generation — to the point where, this year, for the first time, natural gas (with 33 percent of electricity generation) will outstrip coal (with 32 percent) as the U.S.’s primary electricity source, a transition that has occurred far more quickly than anyone thought possible. In addition, the cost of renewables, both wind and solar, continues to decline, and utilities are increasingly integrating these carbon-free sources of generation into their portfolios, to the exclusion of coal plants. In 2015, wind and solar power represented two-thirds of all new electricity-generating capacity in the United States, and in some parts of the country they are cheap enough to compete with natural gas. @ Yale Environment

“My administration is putting an end to the war on coal,” Mr. Trump said in remarks ahead of the official signing at the Environmental Protection Agency, repeating a campaign slogan in which he promised to bring back mining jobs. @ WSJ