Harrison County was one of just six counties in West Virginia to hold stable or add jobs from 2008 to 2009, according to a new study released in the Harrison County Economic Monitor, a publication of West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics. This publication is sponsored by the Harrison County Economic Alliance Corporation and the Harrison County Development Authority.
“Harrison County jobs were stable in 2009, but that was far better than the 2.3 percent job loss recorded by the state,” said George W. Hammond, associate director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research. The nation lost jobs at an even faster pace (minus 4.3 percent) in 2009.
“Health care and government generated the strongest job gains last year in Harrison County,” Hammond said. However, job gains were offset by losses in wholesale and retail trade; manufacturing; professional and business services; and mining. While total jobs were stable during the year, Harrison County’s unemployment rate rose from 3.8 percent in 2008 to 6.7 percent in 2009. Even so, the county rate remained well below the state (7.9 percent) and national (9.3 percent) rates.
According to the latest census data, Harrison County added 313 residents during the past year and 862 residents since 2007. “This reflects the solid job gains during the period in the county and also the continuing investment in residential construction,” Hammond concluded.
Harrison County dinner costs run the gamut
Most dinner ideas are centered around some type of meat (i.e. beef, chicken, pork or fish). For Harrison County residents in the first quarter of 2010, the price of dinner meats in comparison to other parts of the state varied from most to least expensive.
“The cost of meat in Harrison County varied by type with steaks and canned tuna the most expensive in the state and sausage the least expensive.” said Amy Higginbotham, economist at the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research and manager of the Harrison County ACCRA survey. “While meat prices varied in the county, the average cost of living for the area remained below the national average” Higginbotham concluded.
Meat prices are among the approximately 60 goods and services submitted to the Council for Community and Economic Research for tabulation following a canvass of Harrison County businesses to collect pricing data. Harrison County’s cost of living is estimated three times per year by BBER research personnel using a national methodology development by the C2ER, along with 308 other urban areas. The goods and services priced were typical of those purchased by professional and executive households in the top 20 percent of the income distribution.
“The Harrison County Economic Monitor is part of an on-going effort by the Harrison County Development Authority to expand the economic information and analysis available for the county,” said David Cutlip, president of the board of directors of the Harrison County Development Authority. Further details regarding the survey results can be found in the May 2010 issue of the Harrison County Economic Monitor.
The Harrison County Economic Monitor is published three times a year. Copies of the publication can be found at www.be.wvu.edu/bber/ and on the Harrison County Development Authority web site at www.hcdawv.com. Information about the ACCRA cost of living survey can be found at www.coli.org.
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Amy Higginbotham, 304-293-7534
George W. Hammond, 304-293-7876
David Cutlip, Harrison County Development Authority, 304-326-0213