There were 10 delayed or canceled projects in Michigan — most of them coal-fired plants — would have created 56,000 jobs up front had they been built. The center of the argument is that there are 100,000 jobs at risk. Between the 53,000 jobs cited by the National Mining Association and the 56,000 jobs cited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Here are a few important things to know about this number.
The number refers to “potential” jobs lost, not actual jobs lost.
There are good reasons to be cautious about future job projections, especially when they have been framed so broadly as to include vendors to the industry, rail transport, ports and machinery manufacturers.Any job projections of this sort are subject to rosy estimates — especially if a group has a vested interest in the issue. In making an argument to the public, all groups will put forward their most favorable case.
The number doesn’t reflect that coal is increasingly being replaced by natural gas.
In recent years, according to federal statistics, coal has been losing ground to natural gas and, to a lesser extent, renewable energy when it comes to electricity generation.A July 2016 analysis by Sam Evans of the School of Business and Economics at King University in Bristol, Tenn., found that environmental regulation has been a factor in this switch, but a “secondary” one.
“The recent decline in the generation share of coal, and the concurrent rise in the share of natural gas, was mainly a market-driven response to lower natural gas prices that have made natural gas generation more economically attractive,” Evans wrote.
President Trump has ignored market forces, not just environmental regulations, have driven many of the job losses in the coal sector.
What do you think?