MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU’s Mountain State Business Index has for the fifth straight month shown a growing economy in West Virginia.
The 0.2 growth is flat or very modest growth at best but at least it’s heading in the right direction, according to WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director John Deskins.
“One or two months I want to be very cautious of what I say but now after five months we’re becoming much more confident,” Deskins said. “We do see a trend in the index that says growth is ahead but we still don’t see rapid growth.”
The growth is tied mostly to coal. The market for metallurgical coal, particularly in overseas markets, has improved. Just this week ArcelorMittal announced it is hiring 75 miners for its operations in McDowell County.
It remains uncertain when the state will see what Deskins called “robust economic growth.”
“Our concerns are not over and we still need to work hard to make the changes that we need in West Virginia to improve our economy over the long run, but at least growth is better than decline. Although we would hope for rapid growth instead of slower growth,” Deskins said.