On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted a story touting the “first new coal mine of the Trump era” opening in Pennsylvania. On last week’s Political Gabfest, David Plotz challenged the Trump administration’s coal obsession by comparing how many people that industry employs versus other professions. The lightly edited transcript is reprinted below.
We’ve heard a lot about coal miners recently. When we pulled out of the Paris accord, Donald Trump and his administration cited, of course, the coal industry and protecting America coal jobs during the campaign.
The embattled and put-upon coal miner was a huge subject of discussion. We’ve heard a lot about coal plants. The Environmental Protection Agency administrator said on ABC that 50,000 coal jobs had been created in the last quarter, which turns out to be a lie. In fact, there were 400 coal jobs created in the last quarter, and the entire coal industry—entire coal industry—is 51,000 people working in it, of whom, according to the best estimates, only about 15,000 are actually miners.
So, the Washington Post did a little bit of gathering of data about how many people are working in the coal industry versus other industries. And I went deeper, so I went to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook for some interesting numbers here.
There are 15,000 coal miners here, and there are 69,000 people in the bowling industry.
There are 15,000 coal miners. There are 138,000 people who work at used car dealerships.
15,000 coal miners, 127,000 drywall installers.
15,000 coal miners, 38,000 urban planners.
15,000 coal miners, 82,000 composers.
15,000 coal miners, 100,000 event planners.
15,000 coal miners, 20,000 physicists and astronomers.
15,000 coal miners, 20,000 dancers.
15,000 coal miners, 31,000 archivists and museum workers.
15,000 coal miners, 22,000 economists.
15,000 coal miners, 21,000 zoologists.
15,000 coal miners, 50,000 artists.
15,000 coal miners, 55,000 skin care specialists.
15,000 coal miners, 279,000 personal trainers.
15,000 coal miners, 98,000 flight attendants.
15,000 coal miners, 175,000 college administrators.
15,000 coal miners, 350,000 librarians.
15,000 coal miners, 3 million warehouse clerks.
15,000 coal miners, 250,000 public school sixth-grade teachers.
So, I find it amazing the amount of energy we’ve spent focusing on that, and I would like to talk more about drywall installers instead.