West Virginia University's chief economist says the state is on the rebound but will have relatively weak growth in the next five years.
John Deskins, director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research, predicts statewide employment will increase by an average of 0.7 percent annually through 2022, behind anticipation national growth averaging 0.9 percent.
Addressing West Virginia business and government officials, he says total employment statewide isn't expected to return to the peak reached five years ago until 2021.
The forecast sees the recent upturn in coal production and related jobs ending as the industry reaches relative stability but remains "subject to considerable downside risk" from uncertainty over global demand and use by domestic power plants.
Deskins says outlooks for the natural gas, construction and manufacturing are positive.