Terry Headley, MBA, MA, is a researcher and also communications veteran with an ext than two decades of experience working in the charcoal industry and in fixed communications. That currently serves as communications director of the American coal Council.

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Dr. Roger Bezdek is president of MISI in Washington, D.C. He has actually over 30 years’ endure in the energy, utility, environmental, and regulatory areas, offer in exclusive industry, academia, and also government. He has served as senior adviser in the U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Energy delegate come EU and NATO, and as a consultant come the White House, UN, government agencies, and numerous corporations and also organizations.

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The U.S. Office of job Statistics and also the U.S. Energy Information administration estimate the the variety of jobs in the U.S. Coal industry right now totals around 53,000. This document utilizes a combination of currently data from miscellaneous government and also industry sources and original study to derive a an ext accurate calculation of the present coal-dependent employment in the U.S. — taking right into account the coal industry"s entire profile native mine development and construction, v operations, maintenance, product transportation, and also end use.


We estimate that the number of coal-dependent work is much larger than normally realized — as much as eight time larger, and also totals approximately 420,000. We keep in mind that plenty of of these work are concentrated in certain local locations where they make up some that the highest paying jobs available and room critically important to these areas. Thus, the U.S. Coal industry remains a major driver that the nation"s economy and also employment. 

We talk about the industry job classification issues and also the socio-economic determinants that have fundamentally shifted much employment in the sector away from manufacturing to assistance services and also away from straight employment to contractor, outsourced, and support roles. 

We think this research is essential to improve decisions that space being made about U.S. Economic, energy, regulatory, and local development policies and also the future of one of the nation"s straightforward industries. Policymakers need to be listed with the finest data accessible — data the is merely not currently accessible from present sources. This study helps fill the void.

How countless Jobs rely on Coal?

How countless jobs room there in the U.S. Charcoal sector? It counts on that you ask. Fewer civilization work in the coal market than work-related at Arby"s, is the claim. However is that correct? 

Terry Headley: exclusion of contractor employment approximates represents a significant undercount that jobs. Builders account because that 30-40% of every coal mining jobs.

According come the most recent U.S. Office of labor Statistics (BLS) data indigenous 2019, there are about 53,000 active U.S. Charcoal miners, as presented in figure 1. The U.S. Power Information administration (EIA) approximates that the average number of employees at U.S. Coal mines in 2018 totaled 53,583. 

These BLS and also EIA approximates are the number the news media normally report. However, the national Mining combination (NMA), using Mine Safety and also Health administration (MSHA) data, reports 55,400 active coal miners and also that 27,300 home builders are employed in the U.S. Charcoal industry, for a complete of 82,700 energetic coal market employees. 

This is consistent with a 2018 study conducted by the national Association that State energy Officials and the energy Futures Initiative, which approximated 74,180 energetic coal miners and direct assistance workers nationwide. The difference in between these 2 estimates could be due to slight differences in the meaning of a coal job. 

In a wider assessment the the economic and also jobs contribute of mining, NMA reports 419,531 complete coal jobs, including direct and indirect jobs. This is about twenty-seven percent of mining"s total employment contribution, and includes the work of the mine, support activities, and transportation of coal produced. 

Figure 1 - charcoal Mining Employees, 1985 - 2019

See figure 1.

Contractor Jobs and also Coal-Dependent Employment

At the state level, the West Virginia Office the Miners Health, Safety and Training (WVOMHST) reports 15,440 direct coal mining jobs and 37,463 contractors, for a complete of 52,903 coal sector jobs in the state — 2 hundred and also forty percent support workers and contractors for each straight coal mining job. 

Note that an ext contractors space reported in West Virginia 보다 are listed by MSHA nationwide, and also that the WVOMHST estimate of coal tasks in the state amounts to the BLS estimate of complete coal jobs in the U.S. 

By comparison, Pennsylvania reports 5,966 straight mining jobs and just 5,729 support tasks — one percent much less than the straight jobs. Kentucky reports 8,700 direct mining jobs and also just 6,104 support and contractor work — thirty percent less. 

Figure 2 - Generation and also Fuels Employment

MSHA reports just 5,400 contractor coal jobs in West Virginia, which appears low provided the tonnage produced, and state statistics that present there space 1,560 contractor companies giving services to the industry. 

How need to we assess these estimates of coal jobs? many firms currently carry out services come coal suppliers that the coal service providers themselves formerly listed through direct employment, a change that is likewise true in many other industries. 

Those work are absolutely dependence on the existence of the regional coal mining operations, together is 7.7 percent of all the items transported in the U.S. Through any kind of transport, 15 percent of the nation"s flow barge traffic, as much as 31.4 percent that the jobs on the nation"s railroads, as well as jobs handling coal supplies and also operating coal-fired strength plants — which alone account because that 92,843 complete jobs, as displayed in number 2. 

See number 2. 

Roger Bezdek: West Virginia and Kentucky have actually the counties suffering most from charcoal mining job losses and also will be many negatively impacted by future project losses.

BLS provides added perspective ~ above mining-dependent employment. As shown in figure 3, nearly 357,000 jobs are in support activities for mining. If BLS offers no disaggregation of the number of those jobs linked with coal, a reasonable estimate have the right to be obtained by applying the proportion of straight coal employment versus other mining employment to the total number of support jobs. This outcomes in an estimate of around 96,000 coal assistance jobs. 

Adding the 53,000 direct mining jobs BLS reports result in an estimate of an ext than 149,000 total coal mining and mining-dependent jobs throughout the U.S. — using only the direct coal mining and, "Support tasks for Mining" categories. 

Further, utilizing the estimates over and adding the 92,000 utilities jobs, fifteen percent the the water transportation jobs (10,500) and thirty percent of the railroad transportation work (62,400) contained in their own BLS categories and also referenced above provides one estimated complete of 313,900 coal-dependent jobs. 

Adding in the various coal-dependent jobs spread through various other BLS classifications, such as engineering and construction among others, supports NMA"s calculation of 419,000 jobs. 

Figure 3 - employee on Nonfarm Payrolls

See number 3.

This calculation of approximately 400,000 U.S. Coal-dependent tasks is sustained by other research findings. For example, a study for the U.S. Department of power analyzed the existing state the the U.S. Coal industry and also jobs. It offered the employment principle of a full time equivalent (FTE) project in the U.S. And estimated the total (direct, indirect, and also induced) jobs:

Direct jobs are those produced directly in the details activity or process; Indirect work are those produced throughout the compelled interindustry supply chain; Induced work are those produced in supporting or peripheral activities; and Total jobs are the amount or every one of the work created.

It uncovered that present data substantially underestimates the size and importance the the charcoal industry: fail to include contractor employment undercounts mining tasks by thirty to forty percent; consisting of indirect jobs results increases the jobs generated by a variable of 3 come 4; charcoal is an essential to U.S. Manufacturing and also railroads; and Coal-related work are crucial to many local and local economies. The study approximated that there room currently around 400,000 coal-dependent tasks in the U.S.

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Job category Issues

Figure 4 - most Dependent on charcoal Mining Jobs

The BLS and MSHA data are obtained from mining firm reports using standardized job classifications based on the north American Industrial group System (NAICS) code, particularly NAICS password 2121 for coal mining. 

This contains jobs the "primarily interact in mining, mine website development, and also beneficiating (such as preparing) metallic minerals and nonmetallic minerals, consisting of coal. The term "mining" is provided in the broad sense to encompass extraction, quarrying, and also beneficiating (such together crushing, screening, washing, sizing, concentrating, and also flotation), customarily excellent at the mine site." 

Additional jobs, such as trucking, vendors, and other categories provided above are not had in the NAICS code yet instead are had largely in NAICS password 2131, "Support tasks for Mining," and are presented in number 3. Still other coal-dependent work do no fit into these categories at all and are not even counted as support jobs, such together those in ~ Marshall fearbut & Associates (MM&A), a Bluefield, Virginia-based design firm, because that example. 

According to Scott Keim, president of MM&A, "More than fifty of our employee are straight dependent ~ above the coal sector for employment. This contains mining engineers, polite engineers, geologists, ecological scientists, engineering technicians, accountants, and technical assistance staff. Numerous of these employee members have been work by MM&A for over twenty-five years." 

Nevertheless, these work are not had in the count of charcoal jobs. Keim stated that he thinks these jobs absolutely should it is in because, "they would most likely all shed their work if the coal industry were come shut down." However, the employee of MM&A are detailed by the BLS under the classification of "Heavy and Civil Engineering," i beg your pardon contains an ext than one million total jobs nationwide. 

How many an ext engineering companies provide full-time support to the charcoal industry? also the BLS does no know. BLS proclaimed that when someone calls questioning for the variety of coal work in the U.S., they will certainly be called 53,000. BLS proved that companies choose MM&A are not included in the support tasks category.