The Times West Virginian


June 8, 2014

Baby steps in right direction taken toward full economic recovery

It could be that things are looking up as far as employment goes, not just in West Virginia but in the nation as a whole.

For the first time since 1999, eight years prior to the recession’s start, American employers added more than 200,000 jobs a month for four straight months. In fact, last month’s gain of 217,000 jobs across the nation was far more significant that just another statistic. It represented the recovery of all the 9 million jobs lost during the Great Recession.

In our opinion, that’s the best bit of news we’ve heard when it comes to unemployment and the economy since 2007. Jobs are at pre-recession levels, and we believe that there’s only one way to go — up.

American consumers are feeling a lot more confident, and it’s showing in their spending habits and investments. People are buying cars again at rates we haven’t seen in some time, and manufacturing plants are expanding and increasing production to meet the demands of the market.

The unemployment rate is at 6.3 percent, a dramatic reduction of the 10 percent peak in 2009. In West Virginia, the unemployment rate is still below the national rate at 6 percent. The state has maintained a rate below the national average since 2007.

That’s all great news.

But there are some areas where improvement is certainly needed. For instance, Marion County’s 9.6 percent unemployment rate as of April, the most recent informational available, is a relative dark spot in North Central West Virginia, where surrounding counties like Monongalia and Harrison enjoy rates like 3.8 and 4.9 percent, respectively.

Nationally, though we’ve made up for all of the jobs lost to the recession, economists point out that 7 million more jobs are needed to make up for those that reached employment age during the recovery time period.

There’s also a lag in the percentage of people in the workforce, which continues to be at a 35-year low. And on top of that, increases in wages have only been about 2 percent annually, which doesn’t match the historic 3.5 percent growth we enjoyed for so many years before the economy sunk.

And of those employed, there are millions who work part time and want or need to work full time.

So it’s a mixed report. But we have taken a step forward without taking two steps back. We should celebrate that.

While the recession seemingly started overnight, we all knew that it would take years to recover from it.

And this latest data should demonstrate that while we may be taking baby steps toward full economic recovery and growth, at least those steps are being taken and the chart lines are moving in the right direction.

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  • Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease

    “Preventable, but not curable.”
    That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
    He could also use the word “deadly.”
    According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.

    August 1, 2014

  • If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is

    Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
    This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

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