Arch Coal laying off 750 workers in Appalachia
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One of the world’s largest coal producers said Thursday it would lay off about 750 workers in the Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia coalfields, the latest setback for an industry struggling to sustain market share as utilities switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives to generate electricity.
The bulk of the cuts by Arch Coal Inc., almost 600, are in Kentucky. The disappearance of high-paying mining work heightened anxiety in hardscrabble Kentucky towns where officials worried declining demand for coal would result in leaner budgets and more people on unemployment rolls.
“This is just a start, I think,” said Dennis Ray Noble, the judge-executive of Perry County, which he estimated has lost about 30 percent of its mining jobs in the last year and the jobless rate is 12.4 percent.