March 16, 2017 - There are signs of life from the coal industry, as some mining companies are starting to hire again.
Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin reported from a coal mine in Hazard, Kentucky, that was shuttered in the Obama administration years, but is now operating again.
One lifelong coal miner told Tobin he's thankful to be working again after a three-year hiatus.
The mine reopened amid increased demand for steel, which requires coal to be produced. Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has rolled back some environmental regulations, which were blamed for job losses in the industry.
At the Perry County mine, 460 workers were laid off since 2012, but they've hired back 90 in the last few months.
Over the years, mining technology has become more efficient, so mines require less manpower overall. In recent years, some coal-fired power plants either shut down or built infrastructure to burn natural gas.
Tobin said that put coal up against fracking and cheap fossil fuel.
The signs are encouraging for mining communities in Kentucky and West Virginia, but experts caution that the industry is unlikely to go back to what it was 10-15 years ago.
Tobin said much of the recent hiring stems from optimism surrounding the new administration following Trump's repeated campaign promises to put coal miners back to work.