CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The National Mining Association says exports helped support nearly 24,000 coal jobs in West Virginia in 2011.
That's based on a new study the industry group commissioned. It says about 35 million of the 131 million tons produced in West Virginia was exported that year.
Nationwide, the State Journal reports, more exports to Europe and Asia have helped boost the U.S. economy and job creation.
Overall, the report released Wednesday shows that coal exports added $16.6 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011.
Preliminary figures for 2012 show a record 126 million tons exported nationwide.But the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects a big drop in that number this year.