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How Many Coal Jobs Are There In West Virginia

How Many Coal Jobs Are There In West Virginia

Curious to know the coal job count in West Virginia? Check out the facts! Why did coal-mining jobs decrease in the state? Learn how many coal jobs are still up and running. What is the possible future of this industry? Get the answers now!


West Virginia is known for its coal mining. But, how many coal jobs are there in the state?

The 2019 West Virginia Coal Association’s Annual Mining Symposium reported that around 13,000 direct coal mining jobs were in the state. Unfortunately, this figure has gone down over the years. Automation, environmental regulations, and competition from other energy sources such as natural gas and renewable energy are the cause.

Although the number of coal jobs has reduced, the industry still has an important part to play in the state’s economy. It boosts job opportunities and tax revenue.

Overview of Coal Mining in West Virginia

West Virginia holds a rich past in coal mining. It has been a major part of the state’s economy over the years. But, the industry has seen a decrease in coal jobs lately. Reasons include a move to alternate energy sources and automation.

The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety & Training reports that, in 2021, there were 13,000 coal mining jobs in the state. This is much lower than in the 1940s, when the industry had over 120,000 employees. Despite the depressing numbers, coal mining still plays a huge role in West Virginia’s economy. It brings in millions of dollars and provides employment for many people.

Coal Mining Employment in West Virginia

Coal mining employment in West Virginia has been steadily decreasing. In the last decade, West Virginia’s coal industry has declined significantly, due to automation, depleted coal seams, and cheaper alternatives such as natural gas.

In 2019, there were around 13,000 coal mining jobs in West Virginia. This is a huge drop from the 64,000 jobs that the industry provided in the 1970s. The decline is a result of a combination of forces, such as automation, fewer coal seams to mine, and natural gas taking over coal’s market share. Despite this, coal remains a major player in West Virginia’s economy, making up 1 in every 20 jobs.

The coal industry still has a large impact on West Virginia’s economy. Coal mining royalties bring in a lot of money for the state. Additionally, the industry supports many related jobs and small businesses.

Pro Tip: The coal industry’s decline has been devastating for some communities. However, investing in retraining programs and transitioning to clean energy jobs can help reduce the impact.

Factors Affecting Coal Mining Employment in West Virginia

West Virginia has been a major coal mining state in the US for decades.

But, there are factors that affect coal mining employment. Demand, price, automation, and environmental regulations can all influence coal jobs in the state.

Increasing demand for renewable energy and pressure to reduce carbon emissions have led to a decline in coal demand. This has resulted in fewer job opportunities in mining. Advanced technology and automation have also decreased the need for human labor. Therefore, the number of coal jobs has been decreasing in West Virginia.

Despite this, coal jobs are still important to the state’s economy.

Pro tip: Diversify the workforce to minimize the effect of these factors on employment.

Economic Impact of Coal Mining in West Virginia

Coal mining has been a major part of West Virginia’s economy for decades. But, lately the number of coal jobs has dropped. The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, said there were 13,000 coal miners employed in 2020.

This decline in employment has had an effect on the state’s economy. Many businesses that depend on coal mining have had to close or cut back, leading to high unemployment and less money for the state.

Even though coal mining has been hard hit, it remains an important part of West Virginia’s past and identity. Work is being done to diversify the state’s economy and create more jobs, but coal mining likely will still be important for the state’s economy for years to come.

Challenges Facing Coal Mining in West Virginia

West Virginia’s economy is heavily reliant on coal mining, but the industry is facing difficulties. A recent report by the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research stated that in 2020, the number of coal mining jobs had declined to 13,000 from 21,000 in 2011. This is mainly due to lower coal demand, automation, and dwindling coal reserves.

Additionally, coal mining has been linked to environmental and health issues, such as air and water pollution, land degradation, and occupational diseases. Despite these challenges, coal mining is still an important part of West Virginia’s economy.

Fun Fact: West Virginia is the second-largest coal-producing state in the US! Pro tip: To protect the environment and public health, transitioning to clean energy sources and finding new ways to support coal miners and their communities is essential.

Future of Coal Mining in West Virginia

West Virginia has produced the most coal in the US for years. Coal has been the mainstay of its economy. But, in recent times, there have been major job losses due to automation, lower coal prices, and a shift to cleaner energy sources.

In 2021, coal mining jobs in West Virginia are around 13,000. This is just a small part of its employment. Some predict a decreasing industry, while others think technology and global energy needs could bring new chances for the coal mining sector.

It’s essential to recognize the environmental and health risks from coal mining. To keep the state’s economy and environment healthy, we need to move to renewable energy sources.


To sum up, coal jobs in West Virginia have been reducing for several years. Year-on-year the rate of decrease has been steady since the early 2010s. This downward pattern is expected to continue with the decrease in coal demand and the rise of other energy sources in the U.S.

However, West Virginia’s economy is spreading out, with healthcare, tourism and technology all showing growth.

It is vital for policy makers in West Virginia to back their changing economy. This includes investing in new sectors and retraining coal workers for available jobs.

Pro Tip: For job seekers, it is essential to explore new career paths and consider opportunities in growing industries not connected to coal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many coal jobs are there in West Virginia?

According to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 12,700 coal mining jobs in West Virginia in 2020.

2. Has the number of coal jobs in West Virginia declined in recent years?

Yes, the number of coal jobs in West Virginia has been in decline for several years. In 2015, there were around 18,000 jobs in the coal industry in the state.

3. What factors have contributed to the decline in coal jobs in West Virginia?

The decline in coal jobs in West Virginia can be attributed to several factors, including lower demand for coal as power plants shift to cleaner energy sources, increased automation and technology in the industry, and competition from cheaper natural gas.

4. Is there any potential for growth in the coal industry in West Virginia?

While the coal industry in West Virginia is facing challenges, there may be some potential for growth in areas such as metallurgical coal used in steelmaking. However, the industry is unlikely to return to its peak employment levels in the past.

5. What are some of the other industries that provide employment opportunities in West Virginia?

West Virginia has a diverse economy with employment opportunities in industries such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, and tourism.

6. What kind of education or training is required for a job in the coal industry?

Depending on the job, education or training requirements can vary. For entry-level positions, a high school diploma may be sufficient. However, for more technical jobs such as mining engineering, a bachelor’s degree is typically required.