Wall Street Journal – A soup kitchen downtown in the state’s capital city has been busier than usual in recent months, while a nearby health clinic is serving 12,000 more patients, many of whom are juggling multiple low-wage jobs, than it served five years ago. Read article.
Despite the emergence of some new small businesses on the city’s west side, Charleston lags behind metros in other energy-rich states like Texas, including Austin and Midland, in job creation. Those cities are flourishing amid a fracking boom in states with oil and natural-gas reserves, while Charleston is suffering from West Virginia’s dependence on increasingly out-of-favor coal. Since 2010, Charleston has shed 8,400 jobs.
Charleston is a victim of its state’s demographics and rural characteristics: West Virginia lacks the educated workforce and thriving metro areas that are key to prospering in today’s economy.