An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — West Virginia is accustomed to coming up on the wrong end of national rankings on health, education and income.
But this week, the Mountain State topped another troubling list – state unemployment rates.
As the Great Recession hit in 2007-2009, unemployment rose across the nation, with the national rate spiking at about 10 percent. West Virginia’s unemployment rose as well, but new jobs in natural gas drilling helped keep the state tracking a little below the national rate for a number of years.
However, that trend line began to change in 2014. The job recovery that most states have experienced has passed West Virginia by especially this year. The unemployment rate has increased for five consecutive months, and in June it reached 7.4 percent, which was the highest in the nation and two points above the national average of 5.3 percent. Kentucky and Ohio are slightly under the national rate at 5.1 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.
Keep in mind the unemployment rate reflects the percentage of residents actually seeking employment who have not found a job. Other statistics indicate that many in West Virginia have stopped looking…