County by County Unemployment Rates in the Mountain State
Below is a map of county unemployment rates for 2012 in West Virginia. Statewide, West Virginia averaged an unemployment rate of 7.3% in 2012. As the map shows, county unemployment levels ranged from just under 5% to over 12%. The county with the lowest unemployment rate was Monongalia, home of WVU, with an unemployment rate of 4.9%, while the highest unemployment rate was found in Webster County, with a rate of 12.4%.
The map shows some interesting patterns to the state's county unemployment rates. The low unemployment rate in Monongalia county seems to follow Interstate 79 through Marion, Harrison, Lewis, and Gilmer counties, all of which have unemployment rates below the state average. Other counties with low unemployment rates include Jefferson County in the eastern panhandle, Kanawha and neighboring Putnam County, and Monroe County in the southeast corner of the state.
The state also appears to have a belt of high unemployment across its midsection, stretching from Mason to Pocahontas County. Unemployment rates are also higher in the state's southern coalfields, with the counties between Boone and McDowell all having above average rates.
It is also difficult to see the impact of the Marcellus Shale in the county map, with hotbed counties like Wetzel County with an unemployment rate over 10%.
Compared to 2011, 43 coutnies saw a drop in unemployment rates, with the biggest drop occuring in Hancock County, which fell from 11.3% to 9.4%. 10 counties saw their unemployment rates increase in 2012, with Boone seeing the largest increase, from 7.3% to 10.9%. Both Mineral and Raleigh counties had no change in unemployment rates. Overall the state's average unemployment rate fell from 7.8% to 7.3%.