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West Virginia Unemployment Rate Drops to 45-Year Low



By Steven Allen Adams

November 23, 2021 - West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October dropped to the lowest number since 2008 and the lowest number in 45 years, the state said.

According to data released by WorkForce West Virginia last week, West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 4.6% in September to 4.3% in October.

According to WorkForce’s records, 4.3% is the lowest the state’s unemployment rate has been since April-June of 2008 when the seasonally adjusted rate was 4.4% for those three months.


Information from WorkForce West Virginia shows a comparison of the state’s unemployment rate as it has lowered between January and October, as well as the rates from 2011 to 2021.

Graphic by Steven Allen Adams UNEMPLOYMENT RATE


It is also the lowest unemployment rate within WorkForce’s available data going back to 1976.

“The number of unemployed state residents decreased by 2,400 to 34,300,” said Andy Malinoski, a spokesperson for WorkForce West Virginia. “Total employment grew 1,200 over the month.”

West Virginia’s unemployment rate was less than the U.S. October unemployment rate of 4.6%, the lowest national unemployment rate since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. West Virginia’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also dropped from 3.2% in September to 2.9% in October. September’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate broke all state records for lowest rate.

Job numbers were buoyed by increases in hiring in the construction and manufacturing sectors and in the trade/transportation/utilities and leisure/hospitality sectors.

“Total nonfarm payroll unemployment increased 1,000 in October, with gains of 900 in the good-producing sector and 100 in the service providing sector,” Malinoski said. “Since October 2020, total nonfarm payroll employment has increased by 18,300.”

The state saw 700 new jobs in construction and 200 new jobs in manufacturing. Both the trade/transportation/utilities and leisure/hospitality sectors saw 1,400 new jobs each. Hiring within the mining/logging sector remained unchanged from September numbers. Job declines included 1,300 in government, 600 in financial activities, 600 in education/health services, 100 in information, and 100 in professional/business services.

Gains in nonfarm payroll employment numbers over the last 12 months include 7,100 in leisure/hospitality, 3,100 in trade/transportation/utilities, 2,200 in government, 1,700 in mining/logging, 1,500 in professional/business services, 1,300 in manufacturing, 1,200 in construction, 600 in education/health services, and 100 in other services. Job losses include 300 in financial activities and 200 in information.

While the unemployment rate continues to improve in West Virginia, the state’s percentage of residents in the workforce continues to be the worst in the nation. West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted labor force participation rate remains unchanged between September and October, sitting at 55.2% according to the latest economic data from the Federal Reserve.