Kentucky coal jobs are never coming back, and when Donald Trump promised the people of this state that he would bring them back, he lied to us, plain and simple, in order to get our votes.
Personal income has gone down in several Eastern Kentucky counties where coal employment has been decimated in recent years, according to a report from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
In Harlan County, for instance, per capita market income fell from $13,053 in 2015 to $12,579 in 2016, while in Perry County it dropped from $19,726 in 2015 to $19,043 in 2016, the most recent year covered in the ARC’s calculations.
Pike, Knott, Bell, Breathitt, Leslie, Letcher and Johnson also were among the Eastern Kentucky coal counties that saw a drop in per capita market income.
The declines were a factor in income in Appalachian Kentucky losing ground in comparison to the U.S. level.
Per capita market income in Appalachian Kentucky equaled 48.3 percent of the national level in 2015, but that fell to 46.8 in 2016, according to the ARC report.
Nationally, the income figure went up in 2016 to $40,679, but in Kentucky’s Appalachian counties, it edged down from $19,204 in 2015 to $19,022 in 2016.
That was the lowest level of any area in Appalachia, which the federal government defines as covering all of West Virginia, about half of Kentucky and parts of 11 other states.
Per capita market income is a measure of an area’s total personal income not counting transfer payments such as public assistance, according to the ARC report.
Coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky have plummeted from 14,619 in 2011 to 3,909 in the second quarter of this year, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.
Studies have cited competition from cheap natural gas for electricity generation as the biggest factor in coal’s decline, though other factors have played a role, including efforts to beef up environmental rules in the Obama administration and the rise of renewable energy such as wind power.
There has been no significant increase in coal jobs in Kentucky under President Donald Trump.
And there never will be, Kentucky. Coal jobs are never, ever, ever coming back. Stop voting for the party that wants to give our money to billionaires.