The Morgantown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is expected to post continued strong job growth over the next few years, according to the latest forecast from the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics. The forecast was released at the Morgantown MSA Economic Outlook Conference in Morgantown on Nov. 12.
“The Morgantown MSA largely avoided the recent recession and has experienced consistent economic gains over the past several years, driven primarily by significant employment growth in the health care, government and manufacturing sectors in the region,” said Dr. John Deskins, director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research. “We expect Morgantown’s economy to continue to build upon recent gains, posting close to two percent job growth annually in the coming years, which makes the area one of West Virginia’s strongest economic regions.”
However, Deskins cautioned, there are factors that present uncertainty for West Virginia and for all states. “Lingering risks to the global and U.S. economies, the inevitable rise in interest rates, and an uncertain federal fiscal environment create risks that cloud our forecast,” Deskins said.
“The health care sector has been the largest contributor to regional job growth over the past few years,” he said, “driven largely by broader national trends in health care hiring and recent expansions at WVU Healthcare and Mon General Hospital.”
Deskins went on to point out that the recent growth in the Morgantown MSA economy has been broad-based, as nearly all major sectors have added jobs recently.
The construction sector is expected to produce the fastest rate of job growth in the coming years, driven largely by several major construction projects associated with WVU. Growth is also expected in most other sectors as well, according to Deskins.
“Unemployment in the region is substantially below the state and national averages, and recent improvement in unemployment has been driven entirely by job growth rather than by labor force attrition,” Deskins said. “Personal income per capita has also grown at a healthy pace in the region recently.”
“A remarkable difference in the Morgantown area, compared to the state overall, is the fact that population in the region has been growing at a healthy pace for many years, and this trend is expected to continue. The population in Morgantown is also noticeably younger compared to the state average, and much more highly educated,” Deskins said.
Full details are available in the printed publication available from the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research for $20 per copy, or for free download in PDF format at www.be.wvu.edu/bber. Visit www.be.wvu.edu/bber/publications.aspx to purchase the report or view other publications by the BBER.
CONTACT: John Deskins, WVU College of Business and Economics
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