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August 1997

Coal mining in the U.S. West: price and employment trends

David McDermott

Demand for low-sulfur western coal has led to rising coal prices in the West. Employment in coal mining was stable in the region, in contrast to declining employment in much of the rest of the country. Appalachia is still the country's largest coal producer and employer, but a clear westward shift of coal mining is underway. Western coal has a low sulfur content, which has increased its desirability, in terms of the environment. Since 1983, the Producer Price Index has shown declines in prices received by coal producers in every region of the United States, except the West.

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