Coal companies in the Powder River Basin are hiring, and some of those workers will likely come from Central Appalachia.
Companies there have been laying off miners and shuttering operations in recent years. But in Wyoming, companies like Cloud Peak Energy are hiring.
Spokesman Rick Curtsinger says the Gillette-based company is looking for 250 new workers. “We’re certainly interested in recruiting around the country to make sure that we get the best folks to fill the positions that we have,” he says. “Certainly those who have worked in mining, but also those who have worked in the auto sector and really across the board.”
Economist Roger Coupal says although Wyoming mines aren't increasing production, they increasingly need workers with specialized skills. “Even though you may have structural unemployment or people who could fill a position because they’re underemployed, the firm’s looking for a particular type of skill that maybe [Appalachian workers] have.”