The federal government has released its annual report on coal production, consumption and employment, and the news for Kentucky is mixed.
According to the Energy Information Administration’s 2010 Annual Coal Report, America’s coal production didn’t change significantly between 2009 and last year. In Kentucky, production dropped by about 2 percent, while the number of mines decreased 12 percent.
But in terms of employment, the EIA found strikingly different data for eastern and western Kentucky coalfields. In Eastern Kentucky, both underground and surface mining jobs decreased. But in western Kentucky, underground jobs increased by about 8 percent, and jobs on surface mines increased by more than 21 percent.
Eastern Kentucky’s coal industry is still more than three times larger than western Kentucky’s.