MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The director of West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research said there is no one economic solution that will work in every part of West Virginia.
John Deskins said that is something lawmakers will have to keep in mind when the 2014 Regular Legislative Session begins in the New Year.
“We have a lot to be happy about in terms of the economy in this state. We’ve gotten a lot of good news over the past few years. We’ve had growth that has outpaced the national rate of growth, in many ways. That’s good news, but we also have a lot of concerns,” said Deskins of the state’s economic forecast into the future.
Those concerns include a population decline that is expected to continue while, at the same time, the people remaining in the Mountain State get older and, in some cases, unhealthier.
“For some of those areas, it’s hard (to address the issues),” said Deskins of the regions in West Virginia that have experienced major industry losses over decades.
While West Virginia is expected to post steady job growth during the next few years, Deskins said many of those economic improvements will be exclusive to Morgantown and the Eastern Panhandle, the areas which are doing the best, economically, statewide. Recent forecasts for those specific areas were positive.
Other parts of the state are not doing anywhere near as well. Some counties have posted very little to no economic growth recently.
“Our growth isn’t consistently distributed across the state. We have some regions that are growing really healthily and some regions that aren’t growing at all,” said Deskins. “It’s very hard for (statewide) policy to fix every single area in the state.”
Deskins was a guest on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
The 2014 Regular Legislative Session starts in January.