LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A state report shows the number of coal jobs in Kentucky has dwindled to its lowest point since 1950.
The Lexington Herald-Leader cited data from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet in reporting that the 13,109 people worked in the coal industry during the first quarter of 2013. The newspaper reports that is the least amount of workers since state officials began keeping records in 1950.
Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett says the numbers aren't surprising but called them "very concerning."
Employment at Kentucky coal mines has decreased by almost 5,700 workers in eastern Kentucky over the last 18 months and production has fallen by 42 percent.
In contrast, coal production in Western Kentucky was up in the first quarter of 2013.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)