Job Losses Headline WV Economic Report

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A state economic group has calculated that 5,000 jobs have been lost in West Virginia since 20-11, most of them in the state's southern coalfields.

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy on Tuesday released its annual report, "The State of Working West Virginia."

The report focuses on the lingering effects of the recession and the steady erosion of coal mining jobs in southern West Virginia, among other factors. West Virginia coal production has declined by 28 percent since 2008, according to the report.

The report also highlighted reasons behind the decline in coal production including an increase in natural gas usage and cheaper coalfields sites outside the state.

Coal production has remained steady in northern West Virginia, and the report cited that the region is experiencing an "energy boom."

Despite the decline in coal production, the Gross Domestic Product of West Viriginia grew at a healthy rate of 5.1 percent in 20-13.

The report offers a number of policy recommendations to increase workforce participation, and take advantage of the natural gas boom in the northern and central parts of the state.