West Virginia Unemployment

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West Virginia Unemployment Stats and News

West Virginia Unemployment Stats andCurrent and Historical West Virginia Stats Analysis

It has been a challenging experience for the state with unemployment because, in 2009 and 2010, the economy was booming in West Virginia. In fact, in 2010, Morgantown was named by Forbes as one of the top ten towns for businesses because of the coal mining industry. But, when the economic recession occurred, the unemployment rate increased from 3.6 percent in 2008 to 6.0 percent in September 2016.

The West Virginia economy has been in a steady decline since 2013 when coal production and exports decreased by 40 percent. Overall, this was close to a $3 billion hit to the state economy, which was almost entirely dedicated to coal production. Because historically, West Virginia has not invested in activities that would give the state an opportunity to be forward thinking, it has been hard to grow in other industries. When ranked, the state comes in the bottom two for education, high tech jobs, engineers, and entrepreneurial activity.

The unemployment rate continues to decrease due to losses in industries like construction, manufacturing, mining, and logging. For those that are working, the wages earned are not competitive compared to the rest of the nation. The lowest-paid workers have seen their income decrease while the remainder of the country is experiencing their wages increase significantly for the bottom portion of their state's earners.

Why Unemployment Stats Are Valuable andWest Virginia Unemployment Stats Resources

There are several resources that WorkForce West Virginia makes available online through the Public Information section of their website.

  • WorkForce System Report - Annual report published to allow the state and all partners of WorkForce West Virginia to understand the direction of the agency, state of finances, activities that are being completed, and the structure of the department.
  • Labor Market Information - Displays various data sets on unemployment for specific occupations, industries, regions, and top employers.
  • Agricultural Services - Information within this report is related to information on employment and education within the agricultural space in West Virginia. The report also includes plans for services needed to promote agricultural employers, how the state will be supporting workers, outreach activities, and an overview of the need in the industry for the upcoming year.

West Virginia Unemployment News

West Virginia Unemployment in the News

To address part of the unemployment in West Virginia, the state received a grant for $3.5 million to fund hiring 250 workers to temporarily assist with flood disaster relief of flood victims in June 2016. The monies for this grant were extremely beneficial to help the local economy as many workers had their businesses destroyed by the flood. There were several casualties from the flood and many residents were unable to support themselves financially. Temporary employment opportunities through FEMA are expected to make a strong economic impact for the state.

In December 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor provided another $7.4 million in emergency grants to assist displaced coal miners. For several years, the coal industry has been suffering through layoffs and many mine closures. The goal of this monetary assistance is to provide education and career services to allow coal workers find new long term jobs outside of the industry. The grant provides skill training in occupations that are in high demand as well as for childcare and travel expenses. The same opportunities could be extended to the spouse of a coal worker who may have been supporting the family through a homemaker role as they may need to develop skills to reenter the workforce.

There are also creative measures underway in West Virginia such as the Operation Opportunity Initiative. The goal of this program is to provide free hotel rooms to veterans that may need to travel to a different location for an interview. The program also provides training, practice interviews, and assistance in relocating, if needed. The rooms are provided through Hilton Honor points, which are given to any veteran when they register with the WorkForce West Virginia office.