Donald Trump probably can’t bring back coal jobs, but he’s willing to kill the planet in the attempt. What other jobs would it be more efficient to support with life-threatening legislation?
The Washington Post reports that data collected by the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns program shows that there are many, many businesses that provide far more work for Americans than the coal industry does. The most recent year in which that data is available is 2014, so it’s possible that the numbers have shifted.
For that year, there were 76,572 employed by coal. Skiing, an industry that accounted for 75,036 jobs, may have overtaken them by now. If not, perhaps the Trump administration could spend $15 billion on building a weather machine to produce more snow, that also coincidentally runs on coal.
Other industries that were catching up to coal in employment include nail salons and the ancient art of bowling. Whole Foods alone employed 72,650 and J.C. Penney a whopping 114,000. When was the last time you were in a J.C. Penney? There are, of course, many areas where the distribution of coal mines is far higher than retail outlets, and the loss of those jobs can be devastating to the area. But not as devastating to the nation as it would be if Walmart closed, since data shows they employed 2.2. million people.
Considering how much attention coal mining got throughout the election and the subsequent legislation that attacks the EPA and allows the sale of federal land to coal leasing, it feels like these jobs are responsible for supporting every voting citizen between New York and California. In reality, only 30 percent of American electricity comes from coal. In 2015, there were 55,000 jobs associated with solar energy. That’s just slightly less than the 61,170 people employed by florists in 2014, though those numbers will likely fall if we can’t grow anything.