June 02, 2014
The reason for asking is that a New York Times article on reactions to President Obama’s plan to have the Environmental Protection Agency restrict carbon emissions referred to Kentucky as a “coal state.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Kentucky has 11,600 people employed in the coal mining industry. With total employment of 1,846,000, coal mining jobs account for just over 0.6 percent of total employment in the state.
By comparison, BLS reports that Kentucky has 12,400 employed in the heavy and civil engineering construction sector. If it can be called a coal state, presumably the larger number of people employed in heavy and civil engineering construction should also provide a basis for identifying the state. There are several occupations that have employment levels in Kentucky that dwarf the coal industry employment.
For example, the state has 35,700 people working as merchant wholesalers that sell durable goods. It has 25,200 people who are employed at car dealers. And it has 51,800 people working at employment services.
In short, the numbers suggest that Kentucky’s economy as a whole may not be affected much by restrictions on the emission of greenhouse gases (which will be phased in through time).