Written by Whitney Wetzel
Last updated on January 23, 2013 @ 7:21PM
Created on January 23, 2013 @ 3:54PM
According to a report released by WorkForce West Virginia, unemployment rates rose in 53 of our state's 55 counties. Many state and county officials are now scrambling to figure out how they can bring more business into the Mountain State.
Although Marion County hasn't experienced too much of a drop in jobs, commissioners said they're always looking to bring more business into the area.
Commission President, Randy Elliott said Marion County is fortunate, because they have Fairmont State University, which has a rising enrollment, as well as both high-tech and industrial parks that bring in new businesses. The new state building will also be built in Fairmont, which Elliott said will open up 300 jobs and bring a boom to the downtown area.
The county also has two new Consol coal mine portals, that employ close to 2,000 miners, and officials want to expand that employment into the northern end of the county. A reverse osmosis water treatment plant, which is used to clean mine water, will open up 80 to 100 jobs in that area.
Despite all of those new opportunities, Elliot said the county still has room to grow and the key to doing that is economic development.
"From that everything happens. Your tax base increases, you're allowed to provide more services for other people with outside agencies that request money. It's all about economic development and we're constantly looking for anything we can bring into Marion County. We're located in the middle of the I-79 corridor between Harrison and Mon County, and we have a lot to offer," said Randy Elliott, President of the Marion County Commission. Elliott also said he thinks county officials have been doing a great job of bringing new business opportunities into the area.
As far as how West Virginia compares with the rest of the U.S., it's unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, whereas the national rate was 7.8 percent. Last year, the number of unemployed West Virginians rose by 1,100.
Some local residents said the federal government needs to do more to create extra jobs for all Americans. "People are out of work. People need jobs, Medicare, and all of those things. The guys in Washington, they're living like millionaires while people like us are living on practically nothing," said Lois Dieson, Morgantown resident.
The report released by WorkForce West Virginia shows that Jefferson and Monongalia counties have the lowest rate of unemployment in the state at less than five percent. Clay County's rate of nearly 15 percent is the highest.
To view Work Force West Virginia's press release on the December unemployment rate, click here
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