CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — Workforce West Virginia has issued a new report saying the Mountain State has created 14,000 new jobs in the past year. At the state Chamber of Commerce office, a new banner hangs outside bragging of the good, recent economic news.
“And the numbers are pretty significant. And if we would have another year or year and a half of growth, the way we’ve had growth in the past year, we would be at an all-time high,” said Steve Roberts, President of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
The biggest job growth was in construction with a gain of 5,000 jobs. Education and health produced 2,700 new jobs. The biggest decline continues to be in retail sales, losing 2,100 jobs, mostly as more people shop online. Some also worry the increased construction numbers won’t last:
“I hope it is a long-term trend. But I think unfortunately, a lot of these jobs are being created by a boom in the oil and gas industry. And once the infrastructure is in place, a lot of those jobs go away,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D-Kanawha).
The Chamber of Commerce says the biggest legislative need now is fixing the state’s vastly under-performing broadband connectivity problem. A solution could pave the way for many more high-tech jobs here.
While the economic numbers are better, most still agree there is need for improvement. That’s why initiatives to help boost the West Virginia economy will be on the agenda, when the legislature convenes in January.