Trouble in the Coalfields
The Logan Banner - The most recent State of Working West Virginia report does not have great numbers for the southern coalfields. According to the group, 5,000 jobs have been lost in West Virginia since 2011, most of them here in southern W.Va. Read
State of Working West Virginia is an annual report published by The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. WVCBP is a policy research organization that is nonpartisan, nonprofit and statewide. It focuses on how policy decisions affect all West Virginians, including low- and moderate-income families, other vulnerable populations, and the important community programs that serve them.
According to the report, in last two decades coal production in W.Va. has fallen sharply from a high in 1997 of 173 million tons to less than 113 million tons in 2013. This decline is mostly due to the sharp drop in production in the southern part of the state, where production has dropped from 117 million tons in 2008 to just 70 million tons in 2013. Meanwhile, production in the northern part of the state has remained relatively flat since the mid-1990s. Today, counties in the northern part of the state make up about 35 percent of total coal production compared to 27 percent in 2008. Nothing highlights this shift in production more than the fact that Marshall County, which is located in the north-central part of the state, is now the state's largest coal producer (2013), pushing past Boone County, which has led the state in coal production for over three decades.