According to numbers released by the state, Kentucky’s coal jobs hit a new low in 2018, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported on Tuesday.
The state Energy and Environment Cabinet said Kentucky averaged 6,409 coal jobs for the year, after the first half of 2018 saw numbers as low as 6,300, which dragged down overall numbers for the year.
The 6,409 average for 2018 compared to 6,610 for 2017, the year President Donald Trump took office pledging to roll back Obama-era environmental initiatives and bring back coal jobs.
There has been an increase in coal jobs nationwide since Trump took office, from 50,800 in January 2017 to a preliminary figure of 52,700 in January 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Herald-Leader said federal analysts have lowered projected long-term coal production in Eastern Kentucky — a region hit particularly hard — and do not foresee a comeback for the area.
In a forecast in early 2018, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that coal production in Central Appalachia, which includes Eastern Kentucky, would be 39.8 million tons in 2040 and 40.2 million tons in 2050.
In the newest forecast released late last month, the agency upped the estimate on production for this year and 2030, but reduced the 2040 estimate slightly and made a big cut in the 2050 figure, to 27.4 million tons.