Colorado saw a 4% growth in coal jobs in 2018 to reach 1,304 after years of losses, Colorado Public Radio reported March 12.
In 2017, coal mine employment in the state totaled 1,252.
Out of all the six active mines supplying coal to industrial projects in the state, Arch Coal Inc.'s West Elk coal mine is the major contributor to the job increase.
"The mood is optimistic, but yet realistic," said Colorado Mining Association President Stan Dempsey.
However, the state's coal industry is expected to face significant challenges in the years ahead, including planned closure of coal-fired power plants. Newly elected Gov. Jared Polis has also set a goal of shifting the state to 100% renewable energy by 2040.