Fox Nation has compiled several layoff announcements and is claiming that they were “trigger[ed]” by President Obama's reelection. But most of the companies, which make everything from automotive parts to cheese sauces, cite market factors that have nothing to do with the president, and one even disclosed the layoffs prior to the election.
Many of the companies cited by Fox didn't mention Obama's reelection or his policies at all as a factor in their layoffs. An official for Associated Milk Producers Incorporated announced that it was closing a plant that makes products like cheese sauces and puddings due to the recent sale of that branch of the company. A Kentucky auto parts plant reported that its layoffs were disclosed before the election, and a statement from its parent company indicated that “lower demand in North America and excess global capacity” was the culprit. And an official for Momentive Performance Materials, which makes silicone-based products, cited economic factors for recent layoffs and said “temporary layoffs due to reduced demand are commonplace in manufacturing.”
The sole company on the list that explicitly blamed Obama for layoffs was coal giant Murray Energy, whose CEO Robert Murray, a frequent and vocal critic of the president, cited a supposed “war on coal” by the Obama administration. But experts say the increasing popularity of natural gas has more to do with coal's misfortune than any existing or proposed government policy.
In a late 2011 survey of coal-fired power plants by the Associated Press, no respondents said federal air pollution regulations, specifically the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, were primarily to blame for plant closures. The AP analysis found that "[m]any of those studies [by anti-regulatory groups] inflate the number of plants retiring by counting those shutting down for reasons other than the two EPA rules." The Energy Information Administration has since pointed out that “Relative prices of natural gas and coal as sources of energy” are among the primary reasons for planned coal unit retirements, and even the article Fox Nation promoted about the Utah layoffs noted reduced coal demand was “due in large part to low market prices for natural gas.”
It's clear that coal's heyday has passed, but for now there's little indication that coal miners have done all that badly under Obama, as coal mining employment has remained steady in the last four years.