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Forecast encouraging at Morgantown MSA Economic Outlook Conference

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Continued job growth is the forecast for the Morgantown Metropolitan Statistical Area, according to the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, released at the Morgantown MSA Economic Outlook Conference Nov. 12.

The Morgantown Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Monongalia and Preston counties.

The presence of WVU and its nearly 30,000 students is the largest driver in the local economy, which has helped the area weather the recession storm of the past several years, in addition to other factors.

"The Morgantown MSA largely avoided the recent recession and has experienced consistent economic gains over the past several years, driven primarily by significant employment growth in the health care government and manufacturing sectors in the region," said John Deskins, director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

About one in four jobs in the Morgantown metro area is related to federal, state or local government. Health care accounts for about one in five, with nearly 8,000 employed at area hospitals.

Other observations by Deskins:

 

  • "The health care sector has been the largest contributor to regional job growth over the past few years, driven largely by broader national trends in health care hiring and recent expansions at WVU Healthcare and Mon General Hospital."
  • "Unemployment in the region is substantially below the state and national averages, and recent improvement in unemployment has been driven entirely by job growth rather than by labor force attrition. Personal income per capita has also grown at a healthy pace in the region recently."
  • "A remarkable difference in the Morgantown area, compared to the state overall, is the fact that population in the region has been growing at a healthy pace for many years, and this trend is expected to continue. The population in Morgantown is also noticeably younger compared to the state average, and much more highly educated."

 

Full details are available at www.be.wvu.edu/bber

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