Facts about the Coal Industry

The Annual Coal Report (ACR) provides annual data on U.S. coal production, number of mines, productive capacity, recoverable reserves, employment, productivity, consumption, stocks, and prices. All data for 2018 and previous years are final.


  • The number of employees in U.S. coal mines in 2018 was just over 53,583. This doesn’t include support positions such as rail, river barge, trucking and other occupations associated with the mining industry.


  • More than half of the U.S. Coal mines operating since 2007 have since closed.


  • U.S. coal production decreased 2.4% year over year to 756.2 million short tons (MMst).


  • The total productive capacity of U.S. coal mines was 1,020.5 MMst, a decrease of 3.6% from the 2017 level.


  • The average number of employees at U.S. coal mines increased by 532 from the 2017 level to 53,583 employees.


  • U.S. coal mining productivity, as measured by average production per employee hour, decreased 4.8% from the 2017 level to 6.23 short tons per employee hour.


  • The combined mine closures and bankruptcies have deprived the 1974 Pension Plan of over $4 billion dollars in withdrawal liability.


  • U.S. Coal provides pension and health care benefits for well over 100,000 miners. The UMWA estimates that some 108,000 retirees and surviving spouses receive health benefits from a coal operator, the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds or former coal operators that are no longer in the mining business.


  • As the United States reduces its coal consumption the rest of the world increases theirs and isn’t required to meet the same high standards U.S. producers and generators are held to.


  • As coal mining is shutdown in America it is moved overseas to places like China. Miners in China make on average $145 per month compared to the U.S. miner that makes on average $85,000 per year.


Sign Up for Email Updates