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West Virginia Lost Industrial Jobs For A Sixth Straight Year


Contact: Jennifer Ratcliff
Manufacturers' News, Inc.
(847) 864-9440 ext. 241
jratcliff [at]

EVANSTON, Ill, October 16th, 2016/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- West Virginia lost manufacturing jobs over the past year, though at a slower rate than reported in years prior, according to data collected by MNI (Manufacturers' News, Inc.) Evanston, IL, publisher of industrial data and directories for all fifty states. According to MNI’s database of manufacturers, West Virginia lost 2,311 jobs between August 2016 and August 2017, a 3.2% decline. This is compared to a 4.3% loss MNI reported for the 2015-2016 period, which represented the sharpest loss the state had seen since the recession.

West Virginia is home to 1,632 industrial companies employing 69,781, reports MNI.

West Virginia continues to suffer from a depressed economy, a dearth of skilled workers, and lagging infrastructure. Adding to this is the sharp decline in the coal industry,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, the state’s cost of doing business is among the lowest in the nation, and recent efforts to loosen regulations may help revitalize its coal industry.”

Losses were led by West Virginia’s coal sector, though that industry shed less than half the jobs it did over the 2015-2016 survey period. MNI shows coal lost 544 jobs over the past year, or 7.7%, compared to the survey year prior, in which coal mining shed 1,861 jobs or 21%. Coal mining now ranks third in the state for industrial jobs, employing 6,540.

The oil/gas industry, which had helped to offset losses in previous years, declined for a second year, with employment in oil/gas extraction down 6.3%.

Additional losses were spread across multiple sectors and included printing/publishing, down 11.6%; fabricated metals, down 7%; electronics, down 5%; primary metals, down 3.7%; stone/clay/glass, down 1%; and lumber/wood, also down 1%.

Gains in the state’s chemical manufacturing industry helped to offset losses, however, with that sector posting a 2% gain in jobs. Chemical manufacturing accounts for the most industry jobs in West Virginia, employing 7,666.

Employment increases were also reported in textiles/apparel, which added 5%, and medical instruments/related products, which rose 3.5%

In addition to continued stoppages in coal mining operations, West Virginia was also jolted by the sudden closure of a Ball Corp. location in Weirton, affecting 300 employees. In addition, safety equipment maker Mustang Survival closed its Spencer facility, moving production to Florida, and Mohawk Industries closed its flooring plant in Holden.

MNI reports manufacturing employment declines were most severe in the state’s Western region, which shed 7.7% of its industrial workforce, and now accounts for 28,182 jobs. Employment fell 6.8% in West Virginia’s Southern region to 4,919 jobs, and rose 1% in the North to 36,680 jobs.

City data collected by MNI shows Huntington ranks first in the state for number of manufacturing jobs, with 5,331 workers, down 2.8% over the past year. Second-ranked Morgantown accounts for 4,604 jobs, with no significant change reported, while third-ranked Moorefield accounts for 3,625 workers, up 7.2%. Fourth-ranked Charleston is home to 2,531 jobs, down 12%, and fifth-ranked Martinsburg is home to 2,475 down 4.5%.

Established in 1912, MNI is the nation’s oldest and largest compiler of industrial information, offering tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers. MNI’s industrial marketplace IndustryNet: is a one-stop resource that connects buyers with suppliers of 10,000 + products and services, and allows users to obtain competitive quotes, create and view company profiles, post company news releases, photos, videos, job openings, and more. MNI’s subscription service EZ Select: provides access to MNI’s live interactive database of manufacturers. For more information, contact MNI at 847-864-7000 or visit
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