* According to this SJ-R story, coal industry employment in Illinois last year was 3,600. Natural gas is a big price competitor, of course, and the coal industry has greatly enhanced its productivity, so employment will never recover its losses since 1990, when the industry employed 10,000 people here…
Even if coal sales improve, mining techniques require ever fewer miners for increased production. The 3,600 miners required to produce 43.3 million tons of Illinois coal in 2016 was approximately the same number required to produce 33.4 million tons in 2010, according to coal association figures.
Meanwhile, according to the article, Illinois had 3,700 jobs in the solar industry alone last year, up 7 percent from the year before. And then there’s all those wind power jobs.
* Tribune News Service…
President Donald Trump campaigned on putting coal miners back to work, and on Tuesday, he gave the impression he was delivering. But he wasn’t.
Trump rolled back Obama administration regulations considered detrimental to the industry. But the president’s actions will bring minimal benefit to the coal-producing regions that helped him win the White House, according to the government’s own projections.
At best, according to government data, coal production will increase by about 5 million tons a year by 2040 out of 800 million tons overall under Trump’s order.
Not all coal-producing regions will see an increase. Western and Appalachian coal are still forecast to decline. Only Illinois Basin coal will increase over time.
That’s a mere 0.6 percent production gain over 23 years - at best - although Illinois will apparently do slightly better.
* As another article points out, it’ll now be easier to open mines, but the industry still faces serious market challenges.