HAZARD—Perry County is taking yet another hit in employment this week after Arch Coal laid off 39 employees at the Hazard Complex late on Thursday.
Kim Link, spokesperson for Arch Coal, confirmed the layoffs Friday morning which affected employees in Perry, Knott, and Leslie counties.
“There is ongoing market weakness for certain types of U.S. coals, particularly thermal coal found in Eastern Kentucky,” Link explained. “Our Hazard mining subsidiary continues to pare back production and personnel in response to these difficult business conditions.”
The Hazard Complex operates both a surface and underground mine, according to Arch’s website. In 2012, the company laid off nearly 500 people in Perry, Breathitt, and Knott County mines and eventually closed the Flint Ridge mine and preparation plant that same year.
“We regret the need for this action, and appreciate the efforts of the employees whose positions have been affected,” Link said of the recent layoffs, adding that the Hazard Complex will continue operations now with a workforce of more than 200 employees. “This was not an easy decision, but one we needed to make to respond to the current market.”
This week’s announcement is the most recent in a string of cutbacks in the Eastern Kentucky coalfields, including news on Wednesday that James River Coal Company had furloughed more than 200 positions in Perry County.