Just because coal-fired generation declined substantially since 2008 does not mean that the number of coal mining jobs fell too. Here are the surprising facts:
Coal-fired generation declined from 48% of the nation's total supply in 2008 to 37% in 2012. Even as burning coal to make electricity fell substantially, coal mining jobs increased 7%, according to the EIA and its most recent Short Term Energy Outlook.
Don't believe it? This is what EIA wrote:
"National coal mining employment...is down 2.2% from the same period last year, after increasing by approximately 7% from 2008 to 2012." Again, coal-mining jobs were up from 2008 to 2012!
While coal jobs grew nationally from 2008 to 2012, they are down 2.2% so far in 2013, even though coal-fired generation is up about 5% this year. The number of coal-mining jobs and the amount of coal-fired generation actually moved in opposite directions since 2008.
In Pennsylvania, the nation's fourth biggest coal producing state, coal mining jobs actually increased 10% from 2008 to 2012. That is a fact that has drawn little or no attention from the media, even though the GOP ran campaigns in 2012 claiming that President Obama and Senator Casey were killing coal jobs.