Gov. Justice announces West Virginia’s unemployment rate drops for the sixth consecutive month; now lower than national average

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY)- Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the month of October dropped more than two percentage points to 6.4 percent. The number of unemployed state residents decreased by 18,100.

October marked the sixth consecutive month of improving unemployment numbers in West Virginia.

“Before the pandemic hit, we were churning out the best unemployment rates and total job numbers that West Virginia had seen in over a decade,” Gov. Justice said. “There’s no doubt that the pandemic was like a cannonball to the stomach. But I’m encouraged to see that, month after month, our job numbers continue to improve and are trending back toward where they were before. But we won’t stop there, we want to continue to get better and better.

“That said, we know that there are still people out there who are hurting,” Gov. Justice continued. “For anyone who is out there having lost their job or looking for new employment because of this pandemic, please know that we haven’t forgotten about you, and we’re trying with all in us to find more ways to help.”

The national unemployment rate decreased to 6.9 percent in October, meaning West Virginia’s jobs rate is currently better than the national average.

“West Virginia has now had a better unemployment rate than the national average for four of the last six months,” Gov. Justice said. “Everyone needs to realize that West Virginia’s economy is thriving and doing terrific, especially considering that we have the lowest severance tax percentage, relative to our revenue, that we’ve had in decades. We’ve diversified our state in many ways, but, at the same time, we are not going to forget our coal miners and our gas workers.”

Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that attempts to remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to reveal how employment and unemployment change from month to month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Over the course of a year, the size of the labor force, the levels of employment and unemployment, and other measures of labor market activity undergo fluctuations due to seasonal events including changes in weather, harvests, major holidays, and school schedules. Because these seasonal events follow a somewhat regular pattern each year, their influence on statistical trends can be eliminated by seasonally adjusting the statistics from month to month. These seasonal adjustments make it easier to observe the underlying trends and other nonseasonal movements in the series.

West Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased over two percentage points to 5.7 percent in October 2020.

“Even as tough as this year has been in a lot of ways, we still have new businesses deciding to locate in West Virginia and people are moving here because we’re telling our story, and the outside world is finally realizing that West Virginia is the diamond in the rough that they all missed,” Gov. Justice said. “We are truly on the move and I’m excited to see the new heights we can reach.”