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Justice says one measurement of unemployment represents record low

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice is touting September’s unemployment rate in West Virginia as the lowest in state history.

Governor Jim Justice

“Today we are announcing the lowest unemployment rate in the history of the state of West Virginia,” Justice said during a Wednesday morning online announcement.

According to WorkForce West Virginia, 3.2% of the state’s workforce was unemployed in September. That number was not seasonally adjusted. The seasonally adjusted rate for the month was 4.6% which represents the lowest in that category since August 2008,

The state usually lists the seasonally adjusted rate ahead of the not seasonally adjusted rate because that statistical measurement attempts to remove predictable seasonal patterns when determining unemployment.

Both numbers for September do support a continuing downward trend in unemployment in West Virginia. State Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch said it’s no mistake.

“It’s not by happenstance. It’s a result of excellent top-down leadership,” Gaunch told Justice.

Ed Gaunch

WorkForce West Virginia acting Director Scott Adkins said employment levels have now bypassed pre-pandemic levels.

“The 765,000 total employment is actually 1,900 more jobs than we had in September 2019, very significant,” Adkins said. “Also today we have 12,600 fewer unemployed individuals than we did in September 2019.”

Adkins said a few areas are leading the way over the last year.

“Since September of 2020, we’ve added nearly 6,000 in the leisure/hospitality sector, 3,000 in construction and 1,600 jobs in mining and logging,” according to Adkins.

Justice said the unemployment announcement along with the recent news about the state’s strong GDP numbers and plans for a $1 billion broadband initiative show West Virginia is going in the right direction.

Scott Adkins

“I believed, I believed all along what would happen with our coal and our gas,” Justice said.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September was 4.6%, down two-tenths of a percentage point from August. WorkForce West Virginia says the number of unemployed state residents decreased by 2,100 for the month.

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