After adding jobs throughout most of 2017, West Virginia’s economy is showing signs of slowing down in 2018, and the state has yet to fully recover from the Great Recession. Between May 2017 and February 2018, West Virginia added a seasonally adjusted 9,300 jobs. Since then, job growth has essentially stopped, with the exception of spike in May 2018 due to temporary election workers. After adding only 300 jobs in August, West Virginia is down 600 jobs since its peak in February. As of August 2018, West Virginia’s total nonfarm employment stood at 751,900, with a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.3 percent. The state is still 8,300 jobs short of where it was before the recession, meaning that after more than 10 years, the state has not fully recovered. In comparison, nationally, the country has added over 10.8 million jobs since the beginning of the recession, and has a current unemployment rate of 3.9 percent. West Virginia has added 7,400 jobs in the past 12 months, but most of that growth occurred in 2017. West Virginia has lost 600 jobs in the past six months, and is down 2,600 jobs for so far in 2018. West Virginia ranked 40th among the 50 states for job growth over the past 12 months, and was one of only three states with negative jobs growth in the past six months. West Virginia also has the 2nd highest unemployment rate among the 50 states in August 2018. This most recent jobs report, coupled with the latest poverty figures, reinforces the need for West Virginia to cultivate a stronger workforce and enact policies proven to help working families.
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