Monday, September 16, 2013

Coal vs. Gas

Per previous post and again inspired by Tim's recent article: EPA's proposed new regulations could keep coal industry reeling. I just realized the big turning point that recently happened in the local mining sector.  Below is the time series for employment in coal mining compared to oil and gas extraction.  In the 3rd quarter of 2011, regional employment in coal mining dropped below employment in in oil and gas extraction for the first time. Probably for the first time ever. Kind of historic.

As much as the story of late is about the growth in shale development, what sticks out to me is just how low coal mining has dropped. I know the whole "War on Coal" meme is out there, but the trend in local coal mining employment has been down for a long time. Under 1,800 jobs in the region today compares to over 78K coal mining jobs in the Pittsburgh region in 1913, down 98% over the century. I would not be surprised if the buggy whip industry retained a greater percentage of its past employment.

Coal mining is NAICS 2121, Oil and gas extraction is NAICS 2111. Some data is suppressed, but the trend is awfully clear. Obligatory caveat is that this is data for the 7 county MSA, which does not include Greene County. Greene County itself still has ~3K coal mining jobs, so almost 70% more than the entire Pittsburgh MSA. The 1913 number cited is for a 6 county MSA that also does not include Greene County.

Data used for graph above as follows:

Coal Mining Oil and Gas Extraction
2006Q4 2,505 752
2007Q1 1,999 753
2007Q2 1,940 803
2007Q3 832
2007Q4 838
2008Q1 1,991 920
2008Q2 2,039
2008Q3 2,046 1,030
2008Q4 2,100 1,041
2009Q1 1,864 1,081
2009Q2 1,770 1,002
2009Q3 1,766
2009Q4 1,765
2010Q1 1,754
2010Q2 1,778
2010Q3 1,827
2010Q4 1,855 1,510
2011Q1 1,772 1,647
2011Q2 1,837 1,723
2011Q3 1,819 1,870
2011Q4 1,822 1,948
2012Q1 1,842
2012Q2 1,815
2012Q3 1,817 2,448
2012Q4 1,782 2,456


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