The Times West Virginian


June 1, 2014

Mountain State Business Index offers information on West Virginia’s overall economy

FAIRMONT — Thanks to the new Mountain State Business Index, people can stay up to date on West Virginia’s overall economy with simple, easy-to-follow statistics.

Last week, the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics’ Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) held a press conference in Morgantown to kick off this new monthly index and make the first press release available.

“I am frequently asked how is West Virginia’s economy doing or where is the state’s economy headed, and those questions are complicated to answer,” said John Deskins, who became the director of the BBER last summer.

He said the economic data that is out there is hard to process and interpret, especially when particular statistics are viewed in isolation. The BBER’s index consolidates all of the information that can be found in the news into one simple metric about the direction that the state’s economy is moving.

The nation as a whole and some other states have similar indexes. Now, if someone wants to learn about the economy of West Virginia and where it is likely to go in the coming months, the Mountain State Business Index can be their starting point. Then they can follow up by examining other resources, Deskins said.

“I think this is the first place that you should go when you’re trying to understand West Virginia’s economy,” he said.

The last week of each month, WVU will publish a press release on its website,, that will present the latest economic numbers along with the interpretation of the BBER.

“We examine a bunch of different statistics, dozens of different variables,” Deskins said.

The BBER used statistical analysis to determine which variables are the best for explaining the status of the economy, he said.

The following seven variables are most appropriate for pointing to where the state economy is headed and are combined into the index: building permits, unemployment insurance claims, the value of the U.S. dollar, stock prices for publicly traded West Virginia employers, interest rates, coal production and natural gas production.

“Signals of a coming contraction in the state’s economy can be identified if the index declines by at least 2 percent on an annualized basis over a six-month period and a majority of the individual components also decline over that same time period,” the press release stated.

Deskins said that late last year and early this year, West Virginia’s index remained steady, and then in May, the state saw a pretty big jump — 0.5 percent — from April. This represented the biggest monthly increase since the end of 2006.

“Overall, the index has grown by 1.4 percent over the last year,” he said, based on past data.

The BBER expects steady growth through the summer, and the acceleration of economic growth could possibly continue through the fall, Deskins said.

“The index is looking good,” he said. “We hope this trend continues.”

The only way to know for sure is to keep following the index. According to the index, the probability of a recession is very slim, Deskins added.

He believes the Mountain State Business Index will be widely used and will offer good first statistics to characterize the state’s economy.

Email Jessica Borders at or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

Text Only
  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 22, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 22, 2014

  • Morgantown’s housing expenses exceed national average

    The housing prices in Morgantown are driving the city’s cost of living above the national average, a new survey reports.
    John Deskins, director of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics’ Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), explained that the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) orchestrates data collection in 288 cities across the country.

    July 20, 2014

  • JA Used Furniture-JB.jpg J.A. Used Furniture has valuable variety

    J.A. Used Furniture in Fairmont carries items that people need — all at low prices.
    Owner Ron Dray officially opened the doors of his new business, located at 10 Locust Ave., toward the end of December. He explained that the “J.A.” initials in the store’s name stand for the names of his two granddaughters, Jordan and Adriauna.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Backbone Security, T&T Pump Co. among 37 state companies recognized

    Two Marion County companies were recently celebrated for their continued successes in exporting.
    Backbone Security and T&T Pump Co., both in Fairmont, were among the 37 West Virginia companies that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Cabinet Secretary Keith Burdette, the West Virginia Development Office and the West Virginia Export Council recently acknowledged for expanding their business to new parts of the world. An awards presentation was held in Charleston on June 24.

    July 13, 2014

  • All Things Herbal-JB.jpg All Things Herbal health and wellness shop

    All Things Herbal Local Market is a one-stop, health and wellness shop.
    Owner Christa Blais officially opened her new business in downtown Fairmont at 327 Adams St., across from Veterans’ Square, on June 6 during Main Street Fairmont’s First Friday event.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3-D printing continuing to revolutionize manufacturing

    As 3-D printing is revolutionizing manufacturing, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing continues to stay at the forefront of this technology.
    RCBI has three Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers, located in Bridgeport, Charleston and Huntington.

    July 6, 2014

  • Blackheart International -JB.jpg Blackheart International bringing high-quality services

    Blackheart International, a firearms manufacturer and provider of logistics and training solutions, is bringing high-quality services to the local community.
    At the beginning of April, the company moved from Philippi, where it had been located since 2005, to its new home in Fairmont.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Americans falling out of love with shopping malls

    Abandoned malls are hot: The Dead Malls Enthusiasts Facebook group boasts almost 14,000 members; a Google search of "dead malls" produces 5.7 million results; and the desolate interiors of these unused retailing meccas keep making cameos in thrillers and horror films.

    July 3, 2014

  • State unemployment rises, but more actively seeking work

    Although the latest monthly statistics show a higher unemployment rate for the state, the good news is that more people are actively looking for work.
    The Labor Market Information unit of WorkForce West Virginia’s Research, Information and Analysis Division recently published the May 2014 labor force estimates for the state.

    June 29, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Business
House Ads