Report: Thousands of West Virginians Can't, or Aren't Seeking, Work

Charleston Gazette-Mail - West Virginia has the highest rate of unemployment in the country, with more than 7 percent of the state's workforce left without a job. Read

But a new report released by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy Monday says the state's labor problems go much deeper than the roughly 57,000 job seekers who are currently out of work.

Below the dismal employment numbers, West Virginia also has the worst workforce participation rate in the country, meaning the state has the lowest percentage of the adult population actually attempting to find work.

Nationally, federal data shows that more than 62 percent of people 16 years of age or older are employed or looking for work, but in West Virginia, only 53 percent of that age group want to, or are capable of, holding a job.

That labor participation rate removes roughly 687,000 adult West Virginians from the active workforce and places West Virginia in a group of nine other states that have a workforce participation rate below 60 percent. Even then, the second-worst state, Mississippi, trails West Virginia by more than a percentage point.


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