West Virginia shed more industrial jobs over the past twelve months than at any year since the end of the recession, reports the 2017 West Virginia Manufacturers Register®, an industrial database and directory published by Manufacturers’ News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. According to MNI’s database of manufacturers, West Virginia lost 3,243 jobs between August 2015 and August 2016, a 4.3% decline.
West Virginia is home to 1,696 industrial companies employing 72,422, reports MNI.
“Shrinking demand and plunging prices continue to decimate West Virginia’s coal industry, and tight regulation as well as a dearth of skilled workers have made it difficult for other sectors to offset those losses,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, the state’s business-friendly environment and low cost of living have drawn a few new manufacturers to the state.”
Coal Industry, Oil/Gas Shed Jobs
Losses were led by West Virginia’s coal industry, which shed 1,861 jobs or 21%, falling from its top spot as the state’s largest industrial employer within the space of the past year. Coal mining now ranks third in the state for industrial jobs, employing 7,184.
The oil/gas industry, which had helped to offset losses in previous years, also fell, with employment in petroleum products down 24% and oil/gas extraction down 5.6%.
Chemical manufacturing now accounts for the most industry jobs in West Virginia, employing 7,475, with no significant change reported over the year. Second-ranked industrial machinery accounts for 7,251 jobs, down 7% over the past year.
Additional industries in West Virginia that lost jobs included electronics, down 4.8%; rubber/plastics, down 4.1%; printing/publishing, down 3.2%; and transportation equipment, down 2.7%.
Notable losses included the slew of mine closures and job losses related to the bankruptcies of Patriot Coal and Alpha Natural Resources. However, several new manufacturing operations are in the works, such as a new Procter and Gamble manufacturing site, slated to being production in Martinsburg in 2017, and Ranger Scientific, which will break ground on an ammunition plant in Kanawha County.
Job losses in West Virginia were offset by gains in paper products, up 11%; fabricated metals, up 5.7%; and medical instruments, up 2.8%.
MNI reports declines were largely felt in the state’s Western region, which lost 7.8% of its industrial employment, and now accounts for 30,648 jobs. Employment fell 2.4% in West Virginia’s Southern region to 5,280 jobs, and declined 1.7% in the North to 36,494 jobs.
City data collected by MNI shows Huntington ranks first in the state for number of manufacturing jobs, with 5,324 workers, down 2.8% over the past year. Second-ranked Morgantown accounts for 4,604 jobs, up 1.9%, while third-ranked Moorefield accounts for 3,380 workers, with no significant change reported. Fourth-ranked Charleston is home to 2,887 jobs, up 4%, and fifth-ranked Martinsburg is home to 2,592, down 3.1%.
About the Author
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: http://www.industrynet.com 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. For more information, contact MNI at 847-864-7000 or visit http://www.mni.net