This is some bad news we didn’t want to see, particularly for workers in the coal industry across a half dozen states who will be losing their jobs later this summer. But it’s also bad news for Democrats who are battling for election and who have backed the radical, punishing environmental regulations coming out of the Obama administration over the past seven years. For them, the timing probably couldn’t be worse. (Christian Science Monitor)
Murray Energy, the largest privately held coal company in the US, is warning workers of massive layoffs planned for September, caused in part, Murray claims, by Obama’s environmental regulations. As many as 82 percent of workers could lose their jobs at the company that employs people across six states.
When the up to 4,400 laid-off people turn up to the polls to elect their next president two months later, they’ll have to weigh two responses to the decline of their industry: an attempt to go back to their old jobs, or one that tries to build something new that hasn’t yet been fully imagined.
Trump promises to put these people back to work in the jobs they lost. “We’re going to bring back the coal industry, save the coal industry,” Trump said in May. “I love those people.”
We’re talking about more than 4,000 jobs and more than 4,000 families here who will be heading to the voting booths with their primary breadwinner collecting unemployment. That may not sound like huge number in national terms, but that’s 4,400 groups who talk to people in their community, can’t afford to shop as much and feed into the local economy, and contribute to a negative attitude toward the administration. And it’s not a random sprinkling around the country here, either. These jobs are going away primarily in western Pennsylvania, Virginia and eastern Ohio. Do those locations ring a bell in presidential politics to anyone?
This isn’t some sort of sudden aberration in national trends, either. There were 11,000 coal miners put out of work in 2015 and that was just one slice of the more than 50,000 coal jobs lost over the past five years under Obama’s tenure. (Washington Post)
The upshot is that there was a net increase of some 125,000 jobs across all of the above sectors — but of course, that growth masks a significant loss in the coal sector. Moreover, the new study found that the new jobs were not added in the same states of the country, such as Kentucky and West Virginia, where coal jobs were lost.
Hillary Clinton already had a problem in Appalachia, much of it of her own making. This was exacerbated when she went on record saying that she was going to put a lot of coal miners out of work. Barack Obama has beaten her to the punch, so there’s no reason for people who rely on this segment of the energy sector to doubt her word on this score. The only question is whether or not Trump will be able to capitalize on it and convert that into swing state votes in November.