The coal industry remains a mainstay of the economy in downstate Illinois. For many decades, coal mining has been a major impact on the employment of Illinoisans, on their culture and on their communities.
Around 4,000 men and women, the bulk of them miners, are on the payrolls of the Illinois coal industry. But, under an economic formula widely accepted in the state (namely, that each job is responsible for at least three other jobs in Illinois), nearly 12,000 other wage earners remain dependent on the coal industry for their livelihood. This is not difficult to understand if one takes into account the bearing of the coal industry on the communities around mines, on transportation systems and on many other parts of life in Illinois. For instance, the many millions of dollars in state and local taxes paid yearly by coal companies in Illinois constitute an important source of government dollars.