Randy Yohe Published

W.Va. Unemployment, Labor Force Participation Numbers Both Low


West Virginia had a 3.7 percent unemployment rate for March – making it a six-month run of the lowest unemployment numbers in state history.

West Virginia’s labor force participation numbers, however, remain among the lowest in the country at 55 percent. That’s 7 percent below the national average.

That means nearly half of West Virginia’s eligible population is not working or even trying to find a job.

Acting WorkForce West Virginia Commissioner Scott Adkins said one factor to the problem is more than 13 percent of the eligible labor force works in neighboring states. The national average is just 3.1 percent for neighboring state laborers.

Adkins said the key factor is that the labor numbers in the 16 to 24-year-old age group are far from where they should be.

“Thirty percent of all graduating seniors do not have a career plan, they are not going to higher education,”Adkins said. “They are not going to technical school. They don’t have a job, and they are not joining the military.”

Adkins said there are organized efforts underway from government, business and education groups to get more eligible West Virginians to work, especially those in that 16 to 24-year-old age group.