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Another 100K Unemployed In Ohio Valley; US Jobless Total Tops 40M

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — As some businesses in the Ohio Valley reopen and welcome back both customers and employees the region continues reporting high levels of unemployment claims. At least 100,863 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Kentucky, Ohio and West… Read More

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Ohio Valley Making Progress on Unemployment Backlog

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are making progress on unemployment claims filed in March as states begin a phased-in reopening. New unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region. At least 125,459 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic… Read More

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Ohio Valley Hitting Plateau of Unemployment Claims

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — New unemployment insurance claims are starting to reach a plateau but are still hitting unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region. At least 154,102 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That surge in claims is in… Read More

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Ohio Valley Addressing Backlog of Unemployment Claims but Some are Still Waiting for Benefits

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — New unemployment insurance claims in the Ohio Valley began to taper off this week as states make their way through the backlog of applications amid business closures forced by the coronavirus pandemic. But local economies still face a staggering number of unemployed, and many of those who are out of work… Read More

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Ohio Valley Still Processing Significant Unemployment Claims

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — Unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region. Nearly 260,000 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That surge in claims is in addition to the more than one million unemployment assistance applications… Read More

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Ohio Valley Continues Unprecedented Surge of Unemployment

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — Unemployment insurance claims are still reaching unprecedented levels across the Ohio Valley region. At least 287,576 people in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia joined those seeking help during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s in addition to the roughly 755,000 claims form the three states in the previous two… Read More

Treyton Oak Towers, a senior living facility in Louisville where at least nine residents have died from coronavirus.

Coronavirus Takes a Terrible Toll on Ohio Valley Nursing Homes

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — The coronavirus is taking a terrible toll on nursing homes in the Ohio Valley. Well over a thousand residents and staff at nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia have tested positive for coronavirus, and dozens have died from COVID-19. Residents in these facilities are already… Read More

The coal power station on the border between WV and PA

Report Finds Many Ohio Valley Communities At Deep Disadvantage in Health, Wealth

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A new report finds the Ohio Valley has some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country. The study comes from the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions, an initiative to eliminate or alleviate poverty through action-based research. The “Index of Deep Disadvantage” combines measures of income, health outcomes, and social mobility, or the factors affecting someone’s ability… Read More

Ohio Valley Outlook: Expect A Slower Regional Economy In 2020

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The Ohio Valley’s economy could see slower growth in 2020 amid continued anxiety about trade, and possible downturns in both energy and manufacturing, according to analyses and forecasts by regional economists. Michael Hicks directs the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University in Indiana where he forecasts the health of the manufacturing… Read More

The coal power station on the border between WV and PA

2020 Hindsight: The Ohio Valley’s Decade in Data

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The year: 2009. A Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama has just made history upon taking the presidential oath of office. The national economy is at a low point in the Great Recession. And the Pittsburgh Steelers are the first NFL team to win six Super Bowls. Ten years later, as 2019 gives way to… Read More

Retired miners begin a meeting with the pledge of allegiance.

After Nearly A Decade Of Anxiety Over Pensions, Coal Miners See Light At The End Of The Tunnel

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Union coal miners and retirees breathed a collective sigh of relief after the U.S. Senate passed a spending bill that includes support for miners’ pensions, which had been at risk due to the coal industry’s downturn. The bill, which funds the federal government for the coming year, also includes The Bipartisan American Miners Act which secures pension… Read More

Retired Kentucky miner Virgil Stanley at a UMWA rally for pension protections.

Murray Energy’s Bankruptcy Could Bring Collapse of Coal Miners’ Pensions

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The recent bankruptcy of Ohio Valley coal giant Murray Energy has renewed fears about the already shaky financial foundations of the pension plan that tens of thousands of miners and their families depend upon. The seismic collapse of yet another coal employer has lawmakers from the region renewing their push to fix the United Mine Workers pension… Read More

Jacob Dyer at the Coalfield Development Corporation site.

Why Worker Training Programs Alone Won’t Save Coal Country

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Bobby Bowman mined coal in West Virginia for 12 years before his employer shut down. “I don’t think that mine will ever open again,” he said. Bowman lives in Welch, in the south of the state, where he worked at the Pinnacle Mine, which shut down almost exactly one year ago, putting him and about… Read More

Coal Miners Back in Washington Fighting for Benefits

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United Mine Workers and supporters were on Capitol Hill Wednesday in an effort to shore up their pension and health benefits. More than 43,000 coal miners in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are growing anxious about losing their retirement benefits. The coal miner’s union says its pension fund will be insolvent in three years if Congress doesn’t… Read More

Living Wage: Ohio Valley Workers, Employers React As House Votes For $15 Minimum Wage

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the current $7.25 rate, which has not changed in a decade. The bill is unlikely to clear the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said he will not take it… Read More

Minimum Wage Hike Would Have Major Effect In Ohio Valley

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A new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would boost the wages of 17 million workers and lift about 1.3 million people out of poverty. But the CBO warns that could also result in more than one million lost jobs and could diminish overall income for others…. Read More

New Data Show Appalachia’s Struggle Amid Coal’s Decline

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An annual report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that while Appalachia is seeing some economic improvement, the heart of the region and its coal-producing communities are still struggling. Several counties in the Ohio Valley are moving in a negative direction in this year’s report. The ARC report evaluates the Appalachian region using county-level data… Read More

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin with miners on Capitol Hill.

Retired Miners Make One More Push For Pension Protection On Capitol Hill

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Retired coal miners joined lawmakers from the Ohio Valley on Capitol Hill Wednesday for another attempt to protect miners’ pensions. Pensions are at risk because of a downturn in the coal market, the lingering effects of the 2008 recession, and coal company bankruptcies which have all reduced the amounts companies paid into a shared, or multiemployer, pension… Read More

This Amazon center is roughly the size of 28 football fields.

Automation For The People? Ohio Valley At High Risk For Job Losses

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Amazon employee Andre Woodson made his way among yellow bins traveling through a vast warehouse filled with boxes and envelopes to be packed, sorted and shipped. In Amazon-speak, this is a “fulfillment center.” “Our Jeffersonville, Indiana, fulfillment center is about 1.2 million square feet, which is equivalent to about 28 football fields,” Woodson explained. About… Read More

An X-ray image of an Appalachian coal miner with black lung lesions.

Federal Prosecutor Adds Charges In Kentucky Coal Dust Fraud Case

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A federal prosecutor announced new charges against a senior coal company official for conspiring to falsify the required monitoring of coal dust. The case comes amid a surge in cases of black lung disease and widespread allegations from miners that cheating on dust monitors is common in the mining industry. Western Kentucky District U.S. Attorney… Read More

Retired miners begin a meeting with the pledge of allegiance.

Ohio Valley Senators Again Aim to Shore Up Shaky Pension Plan For Coal Miners

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Following a failed attempt to address a looming crisis in many multi-employer pension programs, two Ohio Valley lawmakers have introduced a bill in Congress to shore up the shaky pension plan for coal miners. The bill also aims to protect health benefits and restore funding for the federal trust fund providing benefits for thousands of… Read More

Pensions At The Polls: Will Concern Over Shaky Plans Show Up On Election Day?

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Thousands of union coal miners and their families gathered this summer in Columbus, Ohio, wielding signs and wearing camouflage United Mine Workers of America shirts. UMWA President Cecil Roberts led the crowd in a call-and-response chant. “I want you to send a loud, clear signal that we are one! We are one!” But the miners… Read More

Miners Urge Congressional Action On Pensions, Black Lung Fund

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Retired coal miners and coal community activists are on Capitol Hill this week urging action on two important issues for miners: pensions and black lung benefits. Advocates say funds supporting both pensions for retired miners and the federal benefits for those sickened by black lung disease are at risk if Congress does not act. Pension… Read More

Hazard Ahead: Ohio Valley Auto Industry Concerned About Trump Trade Policies

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Automotive manufacturing leaders met in Kentucky to discuss how changes in U.S. trade policy under President Trump affect the industry and its growing presence in the Ohio Valley. Industry leaders gathered for the annual AutoVision conference and many don’t like what they see coming. NAFTA 2.0 negotiations are ongoing, companies are paying tariffs for some steel and aluminum imports and… Read More