U.S. coal production is forecast to rise slightly in the first two years of Donald Trump's presidency, but many Trump voters in coal country will not see job gains.
In fact, the Appalachian region — which Trump carried handily — could lose more than 1,000 coal mining jobs in the next two years, according to one analysis. Meanwhile, a small part of Wyoming is likely to reap most of the labor gains.
Failure to stem the bleeding in coal country could be a liability for Trump. The president has vowed to put miners back to work, but has not presented a plan B in case his policies — which focus on killing regulations — cannot counter the market forces behind U.S. coal's long, steady decline.
One of those forces is surging supplies of cheap, cleaner-burning natural gas, which has eaten into coal's market share.