During President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, he promised to bring coal jobs back to struggling communities that once flourished because of coal mining. Many people in Trump country believed that promise, even after people in the energy industry said coal was not making a comeback.
Now, two years after the president was elected, voters in Trump country have yet to see a return on the president’s promises to increase coal industry jobs. According to The Lexington Herald-Leader, people in Kentucky have not seen a rise in coal industry jobs since the president took the oath of office.
In fact, recently reported job numbers indicate that coal-related jobs have actually declined since Trump moved into the White House, despite his profuse promises to increase them. When President Trump took the Oval Office, there were about 6,550 people working in the coal industry in Kentucky. According to a Kentucky Coal Quarterly report, between July and September 2018, only an estimated 6,381 people held coal industry jobs.
While the president has not brought an increase in coal jobs, many in the area credit the administration with slowing the decline of jobs that had been occurring prior to the president’s election. The president of the Kentucky Coal Association, Tyler White, explained, “We feel that the blood-letting that was happening as recently as 2016 has ceased.” He added, “We’re doing a lot better.”
At the coal industry’s peak, in 2011, about 18,000 people in Kentucky were employed in the coal industry. Nationwide at that time, 90,000 people worked in coal industry jobs. Today around 52,600 people nationwide are employed in coal jobs.
In order to accomplish his promise of more coal industry jobs, the president has rolled back environmental protections put in place under previous administrations, particularly the Obama administration.