I have said before that the best public dissemination of data comes out of the Department of Energy's Energy Information Agency. Every Wednesday they distribute their "This Week in Petroleum
" report which has just about everything you can get in near real time data on oil usage in the US. It is also the only government report where the authors explaining the data have a bit of humor to help out the otherwise awfully dry content. In the past they have used for context to explain oil trends things like the college footb
all, bad movies
, professional football, major league baseball and all sorts of other things.
They do have lots of other data on their coal page
. But one of the biggest stories for the region that is not being talked much is what is happening to the price of regional coal. Last week, the spot price of Pittsburgh Seam coal jumped by 10% over just the previous week
. Here is a factoid: since Jan 2007 the price of oil had gone up around 230%. The price of Pittsburgh Seam coal is up around 300%. Almost all of that increase is over just the last 6 months!!
Here is one of those graphs that make you go 'hmmm':
Pittsburgh Seam Coal Price 2007-2008
Which all may explain why the coal industry is resorting to new recruiting tools
to get more workers.