Coal mining employment is 23,6% down in quarterly average, from the first one of 2017, when Donald Trump took office, to the most recent quarter of 2020, despite his administration’s efforts to put the industry back on track.
According to an S&P report, during most recent quarter of 2020, industry hit a new low record of only 40,458 jobs, despite a slight increase in coal production in early 2020.
In fact, coal production has been on the low too, with a 31,5% average down from the first 2017 quarter, to the third one of 2020.
This commodity was intended to be a main goal for Trump’s administration in the energy sector. “You watch what happens if I win, we’re going to bring those miners back,” he said at a 2016 rally. Mr. Trump even stated that during his presidency coal would end up being a “vibrant” sector.
Indeed, he tried to push it forward: he pulled out from the Paris agreement; ended Obama’s regulations; facilitated Exports to Ukraine; proposed a plan to enforce its generation; appointed several pro-coal officials for main agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Department of Energy, and more.
Recommended for you: Green hydrogen prices need to fall 50% to be viable: S&P
Coal in downtrend over ESG and renewables
Still, coal as a source for power is going down at a quick pace. As we have reported, in the first half of 2020, power sector used 30% less coal, compared to last year’s same period. Major companies have also withdrawn from its use, like Toshiba, and even Peabody declared itself at financial trouble with bankruptcy as a viable option.
Even with the metallurgical coal demand rising in late 2016; employment figures were flat; “the sharp rise in that market has since retreated, as employment began to decline rapidly again in 2019.” S&P report highlights.
Also, the covid-19 pandemic has been partly responsible for the decline of the industry, and employments. On top of this, the renewable energy push and the ESG approach for a new industry, has investors and stakeholders more interested in cleaner energy sources.
“Our customers, particularly larger commercial and industrial customers with sustainability goals, have made it clear that they want cleaner energy resources to power their businesses and lives,” said to S&P Melissa McHenry, American Electric Power spokesperson.