Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 15, 2012

Forecasters upbeat on W.Va. economy, except coal

Associated Press

CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s economy will continue to improve despite ongoing struggles in its mining sector.

That was the forecast offered Thursday at the latest West Virginia Economic Outlook Conference.

West Virginia University Professor Paul Speaker said the state’s gross domestic product should grow by 2.2 percent annually over the next five years. That would be higher than the growth seen since 2005.

Employment should grow more modestly, by 1.2 percent annually. Speaker sees such areas a construction, professional services and manufacturing leading that growth. But the forecast also includes a 1.7 percent annual decline in mining and natural resources jobs.

Speaker said West Virginia’s per-capita income should grow over the next five years, and should outpace income growth nationally.

WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research put the conference together.