Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Killing coal country

Where has the economy really struggled in the Obama years?
Southern West Virginia.
Thanks to the Obama years.
Since 2012, 27 coal-mining companies with core operations in Central Appalachia, a region roughly centered in southern West Virginia, have filed for bankruptcy protection. The list includes a number of large-cap, publicly traded entities, such as Alpha Natural Resources, James River Coal and Patriot Coal. Production of coal in southern West Virginia declined by 45% between the first half of 2011 and the first half of 2015, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Since 2009, 332 coal mines in West Virginia have been closed, and 9,733 jobs—roughly 35% of the industry’s total employment in the state—have been lost, figures from the West Virginia Coal Association show.
This has devastated the state’s economy. West Virginia has the highest unemployment rate in the country, 6.9% as of October, compared with 5% nationwide. The local unemployment rates for counties in the southern part of the state reach nearly 13%. West Virginia also has the lowest labor-participation rate in the country. Of West Virginians over the age of 16, only 53% have a job or are looking for work, nine percentage points below the U.S. average.
Where is the help for the unemployed miners and their families?
Maybe if they claimed to be Syrian.

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