Gazette Editorial: WV Lags on Work
Charleston Gazette-Mail - West Virginia has 1.16 million working-age people between 18 and 65, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. State figures say 750,000 West Virginians hold jobs. That leaves about 400,000 without jobs — around one-third of the workforce. Therefore, the true jobless rate is about five times higher than the official rate of 6 percent. Read
Various studies say the Mountain State has America's worst "workforce participation rate." Only 53 percent of West Virginians hold jobs or search for them, compared to the U.S. average of 63 percent.
A new report from the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy counts all state residents over 16 and says:
"There are about 687,000 West Virginians who are not in the labor force … . About 288,000 of these people in West Virginia are not working because they are retired, while another 81,000 are in school and not looking for work. Close to 100,000 West Virginians are not in the labor force because they are taking care of their homes and families, such as stay-at-home parents or those caring for aging relatives. Approximately 192,000 West Virginians are unable to work, either due to a disability or an illness."