CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state has added 19,000 jobs from October 2018 to October 2019, and Steve Roberts, the president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce believes policy changes have something to do with it.
“Less regulation and lower taxes generally speaking will create jobs and that is what we are seeing in West Virginia,” Roberts said.
Brian Dayton, the state Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Policy and Advocacy has credited multiple factors in policy as quoted in a recent MetroNews article.
“We’ve heard from so many companies that if you are not a right-to-work state you are not even on our radar,” Dayton said of legal and regulatory reforms and the passage of right-to-work.
Dayton also credited the gradual reduction of the corporate net income tax, from 9.0 percent to 6.5 percent, and the elimination of the business franchise tax as factors in the improvement.
The official totals come out to 763,000 West Virginians were working last month compared with 744,000 the same month of the previous year, per Workforce West Virginia.
Roberts said the good news doesn’t stop there.
“Since the same period in 2014, our state has added nearly 32,000 brand new, a net gain in employment. That’s a big deal and we need to celebrate that,” he said.
Other numbers of note include unemployed residents up 900 in October to 38,100 across the state. But that total number is down 2,100 people over the last year, according to the data. The unemployment rate in the state is 4.8% which is 1.5% above the national rate.
Since October 2018, total nonfarm payroll employment increased 3,200, according to the release. The gains come in sectors such as 1,700 in education and health services, 1,400 in leisure and hospitality, 1,300 in trade, transportation and utility, 1,000 in government, 500 in construction, 300 in manufacturing, and 100 in financial services.
Declines are 1,000 jobs in professional and business services, 1,000 in other services, 600 information, and 500 in mining and logging.
Roberts said the state has the people to gain in the majority of areas and attract businesses. He also credited the state’s new last dollar-in program with free tuition to community and tech colleges as an anchor in future job numbers.
“West Virginia has been identified as one of those places that have a workforce, that if we got it trained, people will do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay,” he said.