To say that West Virginia is at a crossroads is an understatement.

It has been a rough year for the state, and policymakers and business leaders are more interested than ever in the economic outlook for West Virginia, as well as possible remedies for an ailing economy.

The 22nd Annual Economic Outlook Conference will be held in Charleston on Oct. 1 to provide West Virginia stakeholders with a forecast and analysis of the state’s economy. The annual event is hosted by the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research, housed in the WVU College of Business and Economics, and will be held at the Charleston Embassy Suites. The half-day conference begins at 8 a.m. with continental breakfast.

“The BBER has presented a comprehensive picture of the West Virginia economy to stakeholders and business leaders for more than two decades,” said Dr. John Deskins, BBER director. “The economic crossroads at which our state finds itself has created an even bigger appetite for our economic forecasting and analysis. We look forward to providing this information at this and all of our economic outlook conferences across the state.”

The event presents an opportunity to discuss primary indicators of the economy, such as employment, unemployment, population and real per capita personal income, and to discuss potential solutions.

“There are a lot of questions out there about where West Virginia’s economy is heading, and people want hard data and rigorous and unbiased economic analysis. And that’s exactly what we will provide,” Deskins said.

Economic indicators from the BBER’s Mountain State Business Index, show a decline in five of the past seven months and flat results the other two months. Deskins has emphasized that West Virginia must aggressively take action to combat factors like declining population, increasing unemployment and a lack of economic diversification.

“West Virginia’s economy has struggled over the past year, primarily driven by the state’s energy sector, where continued losses in coal jobs have been coupled with what we believe is a temporary slowdown in natural gas,” he said. “We have to direct our efforts and resources to other sectors in addition to energy.”

The Economic Outlook Conference in Charleston is the first of five events scheduled by the BBER across West Virginia. Regional economic outlook events will also be held in Wheeling on Oct. 7; in Beckley on Oct. 15; in Martinsburg on Nov. 3; and in Morgantown on Nov. 16.

The Oct. 1 event will include the U.S. economic outlook, presented by Kartik Athreya, director of research, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, followed by the West Virginia Economic Outlook, presented by Deskins. The final component of the program will feature a panel discussion on West Virginia economic issues. Panelists will include Scott Rotruck, Director of Energy & Transportation Services, Spilman, Thomas & Battle; Mark Muchow, Deputy Cabinet Secretary, West Virginia Department of Revenue; and James L. Estep, president and chief executive officer of the West Virginia High Technology Foundation.

To register for the Economic Outlook Conference, go to For further information on the WVU College of Business and Economics, please visit



CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics

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