VANSTON, IL – West Virginia shed more industrial jobs over the past twelve months than at any year since the end of the recession, reports the 2017 West Virginia Manufacturers Register®, an industrial database and directory published by Manufacturers’ News, Inc.
According to MNI’s database of manufacturers, West Virginia lost 3,243 jobs between Aug. 2015 and Aug. 2016, a 4.3 per cent decline.
West Virginia is home to 1,696 industrial companies employing 72,422, reports MNI.
“Shrinking demand and plunging prices continue to decimate West Virginia’s coal industry, and tight regulation as well as a dearth of skilled workers have made it difficult for other sectors to offset those losses,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912.
Losses were led by West Virginia’s coal industry, which shed 1,861 jobs or 21 per cent, falling from its top spot as the state’s largest industrial employer within the space of the past year. Coal mining now ranks third in the state for industrial jobs, employing 7,184.
“However, the state’s business-friendly environment and low cost of living have drawn a few new manufacturers to the state,” said Dubin.
Chemical manufacturing now accounts for the most industry jobs, employing 7,475, with no significant change reported over the year.
Second-ranked industrial machinery accounts for 7,251 jobs, down 7 per cent over the past year.
Job losses were offset by gains in paper products, up 11 per cent; fabricated metals, up 5.7 per cent; and medical instruments, up 2.8 per cent.
MNI reports declines were largely felt in the state’s Western region, which lost 7.8 per cent of its industrial employment, and now accounts for 30,648 jobs.
Employment fell 2.4 per cent in West Virginia’s Southern region to 5,280 jobs, and declined 1.7 per cent in the North to 36,494 jobs.