EPA administrator’s claim of 50,000 coal jobs created during Trump’s term is off by about 49,000

About 1,000 coal jobs have been created since Trump took office.
About 1,000 coal jobs have been created since Trump took office.
Image: AP Photo/Matthew Brown
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Scott Pruitt, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, has a new favorite statistic. On June 4 alone, he told NBC, ABC, and Fox News that 50,000 coal jobs, or coal and mining jobs, had been created in the US since the last financial quarter.

But Pruitt is off by about 49,000 coal jobs, explains Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler in a June 6 article.

The US coal-industry employs about 50,000 workers total. As Kessler explains, “In the last four months of the Obama administration, September to January, there was a gain of 1,400 jobs. In the first four months of the Trump administration, there has been a gain of 1,000 jobs.”

It is true that for all mining jobs, which Pruitt in some cases has mentioned along with coal jobs, there has been nearly a 50,000 job increase since October, the beginning of the fourth quarter. But most of those jobs aren’t coal-related (and only around 30,000 of them were created during the Trump administration). Since Pruitt used the 50,000-jobs statistic in the context of defending Trump’s decision to exit the Paris accord on climate change, emphasizing the president’s commitment to saving the coal industry, adding general mining jobs to the number doesn’t make sense.