West Virginia University will give legislators an overview of the state’s economic outlook Wednesday (Jan. 14), the opening day of the annual legislative session.

WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, housed in the College of Business and Economics, will provide the 2015 West Virginia Economic Outlook to members of both the House of Delegates and Senate in the House Chambers on Wednesday morning in an event policymakers have indicated is beneficial as they begin the annual legislative session in Charleston.

BBER Director John Deskins said presenting an accurate picture of West Virginia’s economy to lawmakers is valuable as members of both houses gather for the annual session — many of them for the first time. The event, he said, presents an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the economic opportunities and challenges West Virginia faces.

“For more than two decades, the BBER has presented a comprehensive picture of the West Virginia economy to stakeholders and business leaders,” said Deskins. “People have a lot of questions about where West Virginia’s economy is heading, and they want hard data and rigorous and unbiased economic analysis. They want to know about topics such as the natural gas and coal industries, the employment picture, exports, regional variation in economic outcomes and potential, and overall economic challenges and opportunities.

“We are overjoyed to have this opportunity to address members of the West Virginia Legislature to provide them with information that is vital as they lead the state through the economic opportunities and challenges we face in our state.”

Deskins noted that West Virginia’s economy is complex. The BBER has forecast steady job growth over the next few years, reversing the more recent trend of job losses. However, he cautioned that there are factors that present uncertainty for West Virginia and all states, such as lingering risks to the global and U.S. economies, the inevitable rise in interest rates, and an uncertain environmental regulatory climate.

The presentation will also provide insight on challenges to the West Virginia economy.

“One prominent challenge is the fact that a very low proportion of West Virginians either has a job or is looking for a job. Several other concerns relate to fundamental demographic characteristics, such as the aging of our population, the expected population decline in coming years and poor health outcomes,” Deskins said. “It is also important to recognize that the state has performed very unevenly in recent years, with some counties posting very little to no economic growth during that time.”

For further information about the WVU College of Business and Economics, please visit be.wvu.edu.



CONTACT: John Deskins, WVU College of Business and Economics
john.deskins@mail.wvu.edu or 304.293.7876

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