The state of Wyoming is in huge trouble, hemorrhaging jobs at a staggering rate.
Wyoming, the land of wide-open spaces and America’s favorite national park, could be facing some serious trouble. According to a Casper Star Tribune report, the state government is scrambling to provide community resource centers to help people who have been laid off from one of the most rapidly declining industries in the region.
Wyoming’s governor, Matt Mead, has requested several agencies around the state to open temporary resource centers to help the some 460 people who are now out of work thanks to the coal industry’s continuing decline. Coal mining and processing is one of the major industries in the state of Wyoming, rivaled only by tourism.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, the Wyoming Department of Insurance, the Wyoming Community College Commission and the Wyoming Business Council will all join forces to provide relief for energy workers that have suddenly found themselves without work.
The centers will aim to provide information and guidance on signing up for unemployment insurance, job opportunities, training, health insurance, as well as counseling service.
Both the North Antelope Rochelle and Black Thunder coal mines in the northeastern part of the state announced that they would lay off up to 15 percent of their current workforce. Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, the proprietors of the mines, made the announcements on Thursday.
According to a statement from Peabody president Kemal Williamson, “While our asset position and contracting strategies give us relative strength, we are taking these actions to match production with customer demand. We regret the impact of these actions on our employees, their families, and the surrounding communities in the Campbell and Converse county areas.
“U.S. coal industry conditions have remained challenged, impacted by an oversupply of natural gas and mild winter weather. The U.S. coal industry has seen unprecedented shipment declines this year,” the statement said. Williamson hopes that shipments will rebound, but the fate of the coal industry in Wyoming remains unclear.