No One Is Talking About This Disappearing Coal Job
By DANIEL ACKER
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Wednesday released a major report urging actions to protect the Coal-fired plants employed 86,035 people in the U.S. last year. That may not seem like a huge amount in a country of some 150 million workers but it’s 16 percent more than the number employed at mines, according to the U.S. government. It’s also a younger and more diverse workforce, with women making up more than a third of it, and ethnic minorities about a quarter.
Curiously, they haven’t gotten nearly as much attention as the miners — even though their numbers are shrinking fast. And coal comebacks like the one Trump hailed in Pennsylvania won’t help them. Corsa Coal Corp.’s venture there is digging up metallurgical coal, which is used in steelmaking and often exported.
Under Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency is making efforts to save some of the coal-plant jobs by scaling back emissions regulations. But most experts expect more plants to shutter as new gas-fired units come online and costs keep plunging for solar and wind power. Some coal plants are being converted to gas, which still involves layoffs because gas generators typically employ about half as many people.