Energy companies are slashing jobs in the United States amid record heat, as temperatures soar into the 40s, a sign that consumers and businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about the effects of climate change on the economy.
In a sign of the global shift to more renewable energy sources, energy companies reported Thursday that they had cut about 11,000 jobs in their United States operations since March.
The cuts, which are part of a broader global slowdown in demand, are the latest sign that Americans are becoming more concerned about their ability to cope with a warming planet.
They come at a time when the energy industry has already begun to reduce its reliance on coal, which has fallen to a record low.
In December, for instance, Chevron reported that it cut nearly 4,000 American jobs to try to keep its operations running at current levels.
While oil prices have recovered somewhat in recent weeks, energy producers have been forced to cut spending and lay off workers, leaving them short of cash to pay suppliers.
On Thursday, the energy companies also said they were reducing the number of jobs at coal-fired power plants by 2,500.
Coal is the fuel that power plants burn to generate electricity and heat homes.
The move came as some other industries, including construction, are seeing a surge in hiring as a result of rising energy demand.
For example, the number and type of construction jobs in America have risen by more than 40 percent since 2015, according to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The number of workers hired to do such work has also increased in many industries that rely heavily on coal.
A study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center found that the number working in the coal industry jumped by about 400,000 between 2015 and 2017, while the number that did not work in the industry fell by about 4.5 million.
Coal, which burns for about 50 years at a cost of more than $2 per ton, has become a key driver of the economy in recent years.
While the coal companies report Thursday didn’t indicate that they are planning to close plants, they have been cutting back on their operations.
In January, the companies announced that they would shutter two plants in the West.
In the second quarter of 2017, the company announced that it was cutting 5,000 positions.
In April, the coal giant announced that the layoffs would start in the first quarter of 2019.
In May, the Obama administration said it was imposing a series of new rules that would allow coal companies to pay workers more.
Coal companies also cut back on investments in renewable energy, cutting nearly $1 billion in investments last year.
The companies’ latest move comes as many Americans are turning to cheaper and more sustainable sources of energy, including wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal, and have begun to question whether the economy is ready for that type of energy.
“It is very clear that Americans want to save money on their energy bills and that energy efficiency and other forms of renewable energy are going to play an increasingly important role in meeting those goals,” said Michael Brune, an analyst with the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.
The Trump administration has already made moves to cut the cost of wind turbines and solar panels and to restrict their use.
Last week, the White House announced it was suspending the Clean Power Plan, which sets greenhouse gas emissions limits for power plants.
But the Trump administration could still make changes to the plan.
The Department of Energy, which manages the rules, said the plan is expected to be finalized by the end of 2020.
“This rulemaking is critical to ensuring that the Administration is able to implement its climate change objectives with the appropriate degree of efficiency and effectiveness,” the department said in a statement.
“At the same time, we recognize that the rulemaking process is ongoing and is designed to deliver an orderly and effective process that allows the full range of stakeholders to participate in the rule-making process.”
In addition, the Trump Administration could make changes in the regulations that apply to the electric utility industry, including regulations that require utilities to use less carbon dioxide and make sure they use more energy.
The administration also could roll back the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires utilities to buy energy from a wide variety of sources.
The White House could also roll back some rules that have helped make the U,S.
a leader in solar and wind energy, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
A White House official said the administration is still “looking at all the various options,” but declined to provide details about any of them.