An annual Eastern Panhandle Economic Outlook conference was held in Martinsburg, showing job growth is steady in the Eastern Panhandle and is expected to grow in the coming years.
Director of the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research John Deskins presented the findings at the conference.
He explained the Eastern Panhandle continues to be a leader in job growth, because of location, increased population, access to better education, and business investments.
“There’s been no recession here," Deskins noted, "I mean, the state’s lost a lot of jobs between 2012 and 2016, and this area’s continued to grow at a healthy pace during that period.”
Deskins said that trend will likely go up as more investors like Procter & Gamble look to set up shop here.
WorkForce West Virginia reported in September that Jefferson County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.8 percent, while Mingo County has the highest rate at 8.2 percent. Overall state unemployment is at 4.4 percent, which is higher than the national average.
Deskins argues West Virginia counties that are struggling should focus on ways to make themselves more attractive to potential businesses, such as improving transportation infrastructure and cultivating a healthy workforce.