Coal has been the driving economic force and the major source of employment in Appalachia for over 150 years. Now, however, the industry is dying. Even if coal production stabilized at current levels, there is no viable chance that the massive unemployment would be affected in any significant way, and indeed it is most likely that employment on the mines will continue to diminish. The faltering demand for coal coupled with declining Appalachian coal reserves are major factors that account for the dying industry. Appalachian coal mines, as we have historically known it, and as a way of life is dying.