Coal production, employment decline in Kentucky

February 5, 2014

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet published its year-end report on coal production and employment in the state, and it shows the continued slide of the industry, especially in Eastern Kentucky, the Courier-Journal reported.

Preliminary data indicate that Kentucky coal mines produced 80.7 million tons in 2013, a decrease of 11.6 percent from 2012. It’s been a steady decline in production since about 175 million tons were produced in 1990, according to the report.

Eastern Kentucky coal production decreased in 2013 by 19.2 percent to 39.9 million tons of coal, 51 percent from surface mines and 49 percent from underground mines, according to the report.

Overall, the state lost 2,326 coal mining jobs last year, down 16.5 percent from the year before, for a total of 12,589 jobs. Nearly all of the losses were in Eastern Kentucky. Just a few years ago, mining jobs topped 18,000 in Kentucky.

Western Kentucky held its ground, relatively speaking, with production down 2.2 percent overall. However, in Western Kentucky underground mining increased by 2.8 percent last year while surface mining decreased by 23.4 percent. The report can be found here.



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