Economy

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly in December to 5.9 percent.

WorkForce West Virginia says the number of unemployed residents dropped by 1,100 to 46,800.

Arthunter / wikimedia commons

An Italian manufacturing company is moving forward with plans to invest $9 million toward a new facility on West Virginia's Northern Panhandle.

News outlets report that local officials met with representatives of Pietro Fiorentini USA on Friday to officially sign off on a land purchase agreement at a business park in Weirton. The planned industrial facility was first announced in 2013.

Aaron Schackelford / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The billionaire Wilbur Ross is headed for Senate confirmation hearings as President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Commerce. Ross made it to ultra-rich status in part by salvaging coal and steel assets in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. His business dealings leave a mixed legacy in the Ohio Valley region, from rescued steel mills to the site of a searing workplace disaster, and raise questions about the leadership he would bring to the president’s cabinet.  

 

U.S. National Archive Jack Corn

Why is Donald Trump so popular in Appalachia? And how confident are Appalachians that Trump will change the economy and bring back thousands of coal mining jobs?

Three New Developments to Watch Along the Ohio River

Jan 13, 2017

Cities and towns all along the Ohio River are pushing to reinvent their economies. And they’re turning to everything from recreation to new industry to do it. Here are three new developments we’re watching from Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

1. Shell’s Ethane Cracker

Kara Lofton

As towns large and small along the Ohio River struggle to rebuild their economies, many are trying to attract more industry. But some places are realizing that embracing the recreational side of their riverfronts can also be a key engine for growth.

Business has been picking up in recent years for Tim Reddinger, who owns a bait shop in Bridgewater, just north of Pittsburgh, along the Ohio River.

“Can you see that right there?” Reddinger asks, pointing from the bank to a nearby eddy in the river. “Those are baby shad—probably not a couple months old.”

Kroger
Magnus Manske / Wikimedia Commons

The Kroger grocery chain says it has begun online ordering in West Virginia at its market in Barboursville.

Customers can order groceries by computer or mobile device then pick them up at store curbside the same day without leaving their vehicles.

Jessica Lilly

The economy in southern West Virginia is suffering due to the collapsing of the coal industry and it’s not hard to find reports of layoffs. But an international coal company called ArcelorMittal Princeton is expanding operations at a McDowell County mine bringing 50 to 75 jobs back to the region.


Rebecca Kiger

Can a photograph help a community grow? One photographer is shedding some light on ongoing efforts in a region looking for some new ways to sustain itself.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With only two days left until Christmas, how many of you are still out looking for that one final gift? Well, there’s lots of ways to find that last present – big superstores, malls, or online – but what about shopping locally?  The West Virginia Small Business Administration says, small, local businesses employ nearly half of all West Virginia workers.

 

Procter and Gamble, Procter & Gamble, P&G, Construction
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s first Procter and Gamble manufacturing site located in Martinsburg has been accepting job applications since October 2015, and now the first employees for the plant have been hired. By 2019, about 700 total employees are expected to be working on the site, but there are plenty of hoops to jump through before production actually begins.

 

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
Courtesy Photo

Rumors had it that WV Senator Joe Manchin would be the next Secretary of Energy. But following a meeting with President-elect Trump, the Democratic Senator says he will remain in the Senate. Former Texas governor Rick Perry has been tapped for a cabinet position instead.  

Ryan Loew / Allegheny Front

Moving goods on barges is big business. But it’s a part of the economy that floats precariously on infrastructure in dire need of an overhaul. 

Becca Schimmel / Ohio Valley ReSource

During the presidential campaign I visited two regional manufacturing executives who do business in the same county but hold views on trade that are worlds apart. Now that Donald Trump is the president-elect, I asked them and some regional economists how the new administration’s approach to trade might affect the Ohio Valley region.  

In a legislative interim meeting this week in Charleston lawmakers questioned officials from the state Department of Transportation and the Division of Highways about everything from current practices to choices in legal representation. 

The hearing came in response to ongoing lawsuits - one where federal charges have been filed against state Division of Highways employees in an alleged bribery scheme, and another involving an alleged monopoly that's inflating asphalt prices in the state.

picking tomatoes
Laura Elizabeth Pohl / Bread for the World

On Nelson Key Road in Murray, Kentucky, lies a 30-acre tobacco farm and there sits the road’s namesake, Nelson Key himself. He’s just at the end of this year’s harvest, which was brought in with the help of migrant workers.

“I used American workers up until 1991 then I went to the migrant workers and I've had them ever since,” he explained.

Doctor's Exam Room
Tinton5 / Wikimedia Commons

Highland Hospital has announced it is not selling its facilities to Franklin, Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare.

The sale was to include Highland's Kanawha City hospital. Highland's board of directors unanimously agreed to sell Kanawha City hospital three months ago.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, each year more than 600,000 people return to our neighborhoods after serving time in federal and state prisons. Another 11 million cycle through local jails. And many people end up cycling right back into prison.

Why? And what is life like upon release?

The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia coordinates a program designed to help communities understand that experience, and maybe shed some light on some of the contributing factors to high recidivism rates.

MOUNTAIN STAGE/PAT SERGENT

Music has traditionally played a big role in the culture of Appalachia, and it seems that other countries are taking notice of the region’s rich musical tradition. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear from the tourism music trail in West Virginia called The Mountain Music Trail (MMT) Since we last heard from them, they have grown. The MMT recently was a finalist in the British Guild of Travel Writers 2016 tourism initiative awards in the “wider word” category, and was recognized as one of the top three destinations in the world. 

Trumped: Coal’s Collapse, Economic Anxiety Motivated Ohio Valley Voters

Nov 18, 2016
Trump political rally
Robert McGraw / WOUB

 

The electoral map of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia is a sea of red with a few islands of blue. Of the 263 counties in the three states only nine went for Hillary Clinton, most of them around the region’s cities.

The Ohio Valley ReSource looked to voters and voting data to learn more about what motivated Donald Trump’s supporters and what they hope he will do as president.

“More than Obama did!” Judy Collier said from a grocery story parking lot in Whitesburg, Kentucky. “We need jobs.”

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