As domestic and international demand for coal drops, Wyoming coal companies are cutting employee benefits or laying off workers. In 2015, Wyoming experienced the highest U.S. unemployment spike. In the following year, approximately 500 coal miners were laid off in one day. With many coal communities facing financial collapse, Wyoming industries, governments, and workers are searching at home and abroad for models for diversifying their local economy.
In coal-dependent communities in Shanxi and Inner Mongolia, where almost half of all coal mines were “suspended or partially suspended,” the energy transition has been particularly difficult for older workers. Facing layoffs, these workers seek the same solution as miners in Wyoming: a just transition. Read more