The growing demands for fossil fuel and mineral ores still requires sending workers to build mines and operate equipment deep into the earth. Improvements in mine safety, implementation of stricter inspection, and safety standards have cut the number of US mining deaths from a high of 3,242 in 1907 to 18 in 2009. But recent disasters exposed the fact that some mines continue to appeal violations for safety and technology measures.
There were 717,000 jobs in the mining industry in 2008, with 80,600 in coal mining, 39,900 in metal mining, and 107,200 in nonmetallic mineral mining. This does not include Americans working at mines in other countries. While wages in the US mining industry are high, an average of $23.01 an hour, compared to the average private industry wage of $18.08 per hour, across the board almost all jobs in the mining industry are anticipated to decline domestically in the next decade.