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US coal production, consumption and employment fell in 2015

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World Coal,

According to the US Energy Information Administration, US coal production dropped by more than 10% in 2015 to 897 million short t. Production in all three major coal-producing regions declined, as consumption of coal for electric power generation, industrial, and other uses fell by 13% to 798 million short t in 2015. Employment at US coal mines fell 12% in 2015, the lowest level since EIA began collecting coal mining employment data in 1978.

The declining trend has continued into 2016.

EIA’s Annual Coal Report compiles annual data on several coal metrics such as production, consumption, stocks, prices, trade, and employment.

Source: US Energy Information Administration, Annual Coal Report 2015

The Appalachian region’s coal production in 2015 was 221 million short t, the lowest level since 1978. Coal production in Kentucky and West Virginia fell 21% and 15%, respectively, from 2014.

The Interior region’s coal production declined for the first time in six years, falling to 167.4 million short t, 11% lower than in 2014. Illinois, the largest coal-producing state in the region, declined by 3.2% to 56.1 million short t.

The Western region's coal production in 2015 decreased by 35.4 million short t to 507.4 million short t. In Wyoming, the largest coal-producing state in the United States, coal production decreased by 15.4 million short t to 375.7 million short t, the lowest level since 2002. Montana’s production was 41.9 million short t, 6.1% lower than in 2014.

Source: US Energy Information Administration, Annual Coal Report 2015

Total US coal consumption in 2015 was 798 million short t, a decrease of 13% from 2014 and the lowest level since 1986. Power sector coal consumption fell in part because of increased competition from natural gas-fired and renewable electricity generation. Coal consumption in the industrial, coke, and commercial and institutional sectors was 58.6 million short t in 2015, a 9% decrease from 2014. Coal consumption so far in 2016 is also declining, similar to the trend in coal production. Data for the first seven months of 2016 indicate that U.S. total coal consumption is 23% lower in 2016 than in the first seven months of 2015.

Source: US Energy Information Administration, Annual Coal Reports from 2001 to 2015

Employment at US coal mines in 2015 decreased by 12% to 65 971 employees.

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