Unemployment rate of 3.5% sets new state record for 8th straight month
CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.5% for May 2022, breaking the all-time record for the lowest unemployment rate recorded in state history for the 8th consecutive month.
“We just keep pouring it on in West Virginia, month after month, and I couldn’t be more proud,” Gov. Justice said. “Who would have ever thought that not only would we set a new all-time record for lowest unemployment in state history, but we’d keep breaking that record every month for two-thirds of a year straight. It truly is unbelievable, but the numbers don’t lie.”
West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rates have broken the all-time state record for the past eight months:
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- Oct. 2021: 4.3%
- Nov. 2021: 4.3%
- Dec. 2021: 4.3%
- Jan. 2022: 4.1%
- Feb. 2022: 3.9%
- Mar. 2022: 3.7%
- Apr. 2022: 3.6%
- May 2022: 3.5%
The number of unemployed state residents decreased by 500 in May, while total employment grew by 1,700 over the month.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has now decreased for 25 straight months.
For the 18th time in the past 25 months, West Virginia’s unemployment rate was lower than the national unemployment rate.
“On a national level, our country’s economy has certainly faced its share of issues lately. But in West Virginia, we are knocking it out of the park.” Gov. Justice said. “Our people trusted me to make the right decisions, and that’s exactly what’s happened. We stood behind our energy industry, we tightened our belt when we had to, and we put in a lot of hard work. Now look at the results.
“Unemployment continues to go down and down – past the point that anyone thought was possible. We are also setting all-time state records for our revenue surpluses every month – we may very well be on our way to the highest surplus ever in West Virginia history.”
READ: West Virginia BREAKS ALL-TIME STATE RECORD for revenue collections through May
“More and more major businesses are setting up shop in West Virginia or expanding their existing operations in our state,” Gov. Justice added. “We are on the rocket ship ride that I promised. It’s an exciting time in our state, where West Virginians can hold their heads high to the outside world and – for the first time in a long time – they can truly be proud of where they come from.”
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Under Gov. Justice’s leadership, West Virginia continues to enjoy an unprecedented era of success and prosperity.
After inheriting a $500 million budget deficit, Gov. Justice has led the state to a string of consistent budget surpluses by using his lifelong experience as a businessman to make West Virginia a more business-friendly state and by standing behind the energy industry. A $253 million surplus in April 2022 alone marked the biggest single-month revenue surplus in state history. In May 2022, cumulative collections for the fiscal year surpassed $5 billion – the first time that mark has ever been broken in West Virginia history – with one month still remaining in the fiscal year.
West Virginia is finally competing on the world stage and recruiting world-class companies to our state as shown in several major economic development announcements this year. Nucor Corporation announced that they selected Mason County as the location for a state-of-the-art sheet steel mill. This record investment will exceed $2.7 billion, making it the largest in West Virginia history, as well as the largest single investment Nucor has ever made. GreenPower Motor Company announced an agreement with the state to manufacture zero-emission, all-electric school buses in South Charleston, bringing hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact to West Virginia. Owens & Minor, a Fortune 500 company that provides medical supplies, is going to expand on a deal they previously had with WVU Medicine and create over 125 jobs at a healthcare products preparedness and supply center in Morgantown. Omnis Building Technologies will build a $40 million, 150,000-square-foot facility in Bluefield to manufacture housing materials that will revolutionize the future of residential construction, creating 150-300 jobs in the process. Klöckner Pentaplast has announced a multimillion-dollar expansion of their West Virginia facility. PepsiCo is building a pair of new distribution facilities this year, representing a combined $32.5 million investment, while providing 185 jobs in West Virginia. Veloxint, a manufacturer of nanocrystalline metal alloys, is moving to Touchstone Research Laboratory Ltd. in Triadelphia and is expected to create another 200-300 new jobs over the next four years.
Gov. Justice also announced that West Virginia reached the 2nd-highest export growth rate of any state in the nation for 2021.
Meanwhile, the Governor’s Roads To Prosperity program is the state’s largest-ever investment in road maintenance and improvement; after 50 years of neglecting its roads, the state has committed more than $2 billion dollars to fixing them. Teachers and state employees have received their two largest pay raises ever, and a third pay raise has been proposed. The state’s Rainy Day Fund now exceeds $1 billion – another record – and its public pension funds are better-funded than they have been in decades. Thanks to Gov. Justice, Veterans now live in West Virginia tax-free and senior citizens do not face state taxes on social security. The Governor has also led West Virginia through a once-in-a-century pandemic, protecting the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
People are more excited than ever to be in West Virginia. From April 2010 to July 2019, more than 43,000 people moved out of the state. However, from 2020 through 2021, net migration is up in West Virginia for the first time in decades, with over 2,000 people moving into the state, making West Virginia one of the top states in the entire nation that people are moving into on a percentage basis.
Increased investments in the state’s tourism efforts have visitation and intrigue in West Virginia through the roof. West Virginia was recently named a top-10 travel region in the world to visit by Lonely Planet; the only state to earn this prestigious distinction and the state was also recently selected as one of the Best Places to Go by Condé Nast Traveler. West Virginia was also recently named as one of CBS’s top destinations for family vacations in 2022.