W.Va. jobless rate drops to 4.6%

West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.6% in August, the lowest for the state since October 2008 when it was 4.4%, Gov. Jim Justice said Thursday.

“Businesses are realizing West Virginia is the diamond in the rough that they have missed in a lot of ways,” said Justice in a statement. “Now, with that realization, we hope to see more and more businesses choose West Virginia as a place to grow and bring more jobs along with them.”

Despite the decline, West Virginia still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, according to August numbers, which stood at 3.7%.

The jobless rate in Monongalia County — not seasonally adjusted — was 3.7%, according to the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis. That figure is down from 4.2% in June. In neighboring Preston County, the July unemployment rate was 4.4%, compared with 4.6% in June. Marion had an unemployment rate of 4.9%, down from 5.2% in June.

The term seasonally adjusted is a statistical technique that removes predictable seasonal influences — weather — on the unemployment rate.

Jackson County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state in July at 2.9%. It was followed by Jefferson County at 3.1% and Berkley and Pendleton counties, both at 3.4%.

Calhoun County had the highest jobless rate in July of West Virginia’s 55 counties at 10.6%. McDowell County was second at 9.2% and Roane was third at 7.7%.

To date, the total unemployment rate in the state is down by 10,200, Justice said.

WVU Medicine is the state’s largest private employer followed by Walmart and the Charleston Area Medical Center, while Mylan Pharmaceuticals is the state’s sixth-biggest private employer, the state said. Rounding out the top 10 private employers are Kroger, Lowe’s Home Centers, Wheeling Hospital, Res-Care Inc., Cabell-Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center.

“It doesn’t matter how you cut it, we’re flat out doing better, that’s all there is to it,” said Justice, who is running for re-election. “Now, we still have a long way to go. We’d love to have unemployment as close to zero as possible.”

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