HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It is no secret that the industry that helps light up the world is facing dark times.
"The cost of production is above what the market can bare," explained Bill Rainey, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, "so people are having to cut back."
"It's particularly deep in eastern Kentucky, but it's beginning to clearly affect West Virginia.
James River Coal Company announced Monday it has furloughed approximately 525 full time coal workers and is idling production at three operations in eastern Kentucky.
It is the second major layoff by the company in six months.
In West Virginia, 200 jobs were eliminated at Patriot Coal Facilities in Logan County last Wednesday.
Rainey said coal mining is like any other job: if you have a specialty, you have an edge.
"Foreman, electrician, when you have that kind of skill level, then I think there are opportunities out there," Rainey said.
A quick Internet search proves Rainey's statement. Underground mine jobs are slim in West Virginia. Coal jobs are even more difficult to find in Kentucky.
Rocky McCoy with Workforce West Virginia says he would encourage all miners employed or unemployed to register with Workforce West Virginia.
"If a coal mine is hiring, they can list their openings with us and if we have those miners registered in our system, we can refer to those openings from those coal companies," McCoy said.
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