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Study shows West Virginia emerged from the pandemic in a bad economic way

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FILE – This May 9, 2012, file photo, shows the Grandview State Park overlooking the New River Gorge National River in Grandview, W.Va. The state offers numerous trails for hiking and other spots with scenic views. With West Virginia poised to lose another congressional seat due to its long, steady population decline, Republican lawmakers are […]

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July 04 2021 08:00 pm

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF)

Wallet Hub has released the results of a study of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of how economically healthy they emerged from the pandemic.

It looked at 29 key indicators of economic strength and performance.

West Virginia unfortunately ended up 50th out of 51.

We spoke with Wallet Hub and a financial expert in Wheeling to put it in perspective.

They say the gross domestic product is down everywhere, but the mountain state’s drop is dramatic.

“West Virginia had one of the highest, with almost negative six percent,” said Jill Gonzalez of Wallet Hub.

She said West Virginia also had the lowest start-up activity in the country, and the third highest share of the population in poverty, with almost 20 percent.”

Jason Haswell, managing director of The Monteverde Group, says they also looked at whether new businesses were coming to the state, and whether those businesses are high-tech with quality good-paying jobs.

And in West Virginia, the answer is no.

So why don’t high-tech businesses come here?

“There are places in West Virginia that don’t have internet service,” Haswell said. “Not just bad internet service. They don’t have any. So naturally if you’re a tech firm, you want the highest quality you can get. Many of their employees work remotely.”

One other state rated worse.

Surprisingly, that was Hawaii.

Haswell says that’s because tourism is their number one industry, and the pandemic shut it down.

“You don’t expect to see the paradise that is Hawaii 51st,” he said. “But I think if you look at the same survey in two years, it will be significantly different.”

Hopefully West Virginia’s numbers will change too. 

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