Curtis Tate Published

Federal Data: Coal Production, Employment Rose Modestly In 2022

A CSX coal train ,with black cars and yellow letting, passes the concrete station platform at Charleston on an early spring day.
A CSX train passes the station platform at Charleston.
Curtis Tate / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Coal production in West Virginia, Appalachia and the nation rose modestly in 2022, according to federal data.

West Virginia produced 83 million tons of coal last year, maintaining the No. 2 spot behind Wyoming, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest coal report.

Production in the state increased 6.3 percent from 2021 and 3.5 percent in Appalachia.

The U.S. total for 2022 came in at just under 600 million tons, a 3 percent increase from 2021.

The past three years have seen U.S. coal production under 600 million tons, the lowest levels in 50 years. The nation has not produced more than 1 billion tons in a year in almost a decade.

West Virginia coal mine employment rose to nearly 13,000 last year, a 13 percent increase. U.S. coal mine workers topped 43,000 last year, a 10 percent increase.

Appalachian coal employment rose similarly to West Virginia, increasing 13.5 percent over 2021.

West Virginia’s coal-producing neighbors didn’t fare as well. Production in Ohio fell nearly 10 percent, while it fell 6.5 percent in Pennsylvania. Production rose 8 percent in Kentucky and 1.5 percent in Virginia. 

The total production in all four states combined roughly equaled West Virginia’s production total.