Coal mining jobs in Virginia increased in 2018 for the first time in five years.
Data from the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy shows there were 2,969 employed coal miners last year, nearly 700 more than in 2017.
The last time coal mining jobs increased was in 2013.
Despite the job increase, coal production saw a slight decrease from 2017 to 2018.
Coal mines employed far fewer people in 2018 compared to just a few years ago. According to DMME, there were 4,933 coal miners employed in Virginia in 2013.
The Appalachian coal industry has struggled over the past decade. Thousands of miners in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia lost their jobs as dozens of coal companies fell into bankruptcy, including major operators like Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal.
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