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Peace In Our Time: Coal Employment Stays Constant, Despite Conservative Predictions Obama Would Trigger Mass Layoffs

By Rebecca Leber on February 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm

"Peace In Our Time: Coal Employment Stays Constant, Despite Conservative Predictions Obama Would Trigger Mass Layoffs"

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After President Obama won reelection, Fox News headlined that Obama’s reelection triggered “mass layoffs” in the coal industry. So far, the facts defy the war on coal hype.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, coal mining employment has stayed relatively flat since the election. Employment was constant for the last two months, at 82,000 workers. It dipped slightly between November and December, from 83,000 to 82,000 — far from the drastic times that conservatives predicted.

Murray Energy may have accounted for some of the drop in November. The coal company politicized miner layoffs throughout the election, but they recently quietly rehired workers.

“War on coal” nonsense does not end there: Coal employment hit a 15-year high at the same time Republicans slammed Obama in ads.

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11 Responses to Peace In Our Time: Coal Employment Stays Constant, Despite Conservative Predictions Obama Would Trigger Mass Layoffs

  1. Sasparilla says:

    What an odd article here in Climate Progress, seems like it belongs in the political section where more coal miners is a good thing.

    This article will be good news to Obama’s political advisor D. Axelrod (doesn’t like the climate change issue or action) – we’ve got just as many miners digging up coal as ever – good news. Take that Fox News, President Coal is right there for the coal companies.

    Shifting over to the Climate Change view – sounds like coal production is just as high as ever and the firms are looking for ways to export that black money to China as fast as possible – which is not good news.

    • Joe Romm says:

      Perhaps the headline is too WWII-esque….

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      I agree. We need headlines like ‘All coal-miners unemployed, and being re-trained as renewable energy technicians’. I’d never make a sub-editor, but you get the idea.

  2. Will says:

    I was never comfortable with the tactic of pretending there’s no war on coal and it makes even less sense now that the election is over. Coal is the top source of man-made global warming pollutants. That must be dealt with, which means we need to explain why reducing coal production is justified rather than pretending we won’t lose any coal jobs.

    The better way to deal with the problem of lost jobs is to target federal funding for clean energy specifically to coal mining regions and give preference to laid off miners. That’s also the best way to break the political power of King Coal.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Will, in Australia, our Prime Minister, Julia Dullard, followed up her pathetic carbon tax (to morph into the planned debacle of ‘carbon trading’)with various pledges to keep mining coal ‘for generations’. Her regime is very active at assisting new coal-mining ventures, utterly undoing everything that a carbon tax might achieve. Moreover, and quite funny in an imbecile fashion, after the floods in 2011, she raised money for a flood repair levy by, inter alia, cutting funding for various environmental policies. Still, she seems better than the Opposition Leader, Tony ‘Climate Change is Crap’ Abbott, which tells you all you’d ever need to know about ‘democracy without choices’.

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    I second Sasparilla and Will. If coal industry employment were down to a few hundred people, we would know we were getting somewhere.

    Retraining laid off workers for jobs in wind and solar would take care of political fallout, and the workers wouldn’t have to deal with as much black lung or asthma, either.

    There have been some troubling guest posts here lately. Either we get serious or we don’t.

  4. SecularAnimist says:

    Will wrote: “I was never comfortable with the tactic of pretending there‚Äôs no war on coal …”

    There’s no “pretending” about it — the Obama administration has never engaged in any “war on coal” at all.

    On the contrary, the Obama approach has been more like a war FOR coal, from Obama and Chu constantly talking about “clean coal”, to Obama saying that US energy policy must “ensure a future for coal”, to the massive expansion of coal mining on public lands.

    Now, whether there SHOULD BE a war on coal is another story, but there has been no such “war” during Obama’s first term.

    • Will says:

      My comments were not specific to Obama. The environmental movement is targeting coal to deal with climate change, as we should. It’s disingenuous to pretend that movement doesn’t exist by claiming there’s no war on coal.

      The coal industry doesn’t share your attitude about Obama. They’re fully aware that building new coal plants without carbon capture has stopped. They’re also aware that the half dozen EPA regulation on coal that are moving forward will likely shut down 1/3 or more of the nation’s coal fleet. Some stimulus crumbs to build a few clean coal plants does not negate the significance of Obama’s other actions.

  5. Theodore says:

    I want a war president.

  6. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Obama has never declared war on coal. Nor would it appear that he ever intends to.

    I would declare war on coal. It must stay in the ground if we are to have any chance of containing the climate disaster.

    That the conservatives have lost their grip on reality is not a point I would argue with.

    We do not have a war on coal, but we do need one.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      The ‘conservatives’ always follow the dictum of one of their great leaders that, when telling a lie, tell a Big One, because the average punters, being basically honest, will not believe that anyone could lie with such immoral audacity, so tend to believe the lie.