Employment in the U.S.' coal production industry has decreased 41% since 2011, according to the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.
U.S. coal mining employment fell from a high of 92,000 employees in 2011 to 54,000 employees in 2018, the EIA said in a statement.
"Coal mining employment has declined in the past decade as coal demand has decreased," the statement read, adding that as most U.S. coal is consumed in the electric power sector, it has faced increased competition from electricity generation from natural gas and renewable technologies.
Coal production in the U.S. peaked in 2008, three years before coal-mining employment reached its record high.
While the U.S. produced 1.2 billion tons of coal from 1,458 mines in 2008, these figures decreased to 756 million tons of coal production from 679 mines in 2018.
The most dramatic decline came in the country's Appalachian region, which extends from the state of West Virginia to the state of Ohio on the west and to the state of Kentucky to the south.
In this area, "more than half of the region’s mines have closed since 2008, and production has fallen from 390 million tons in 2008 to 200 million tons in 2018," the statement said.
Natural gas-fired electricity generation in the U.S. is forecast to increase by 6% this year, and by 2% next year, according to the EIA, while electricity generation from wind power is estimated to rise by 6% in 2019, and by 14% in 2020.
Coal-fired electricity generation, on the other hand, is expected to decline by 15% in 2019 and by 9% in 2020.
By Ovunc Kutlu