BECKLEY, W.Va (WVNS) — An annual report from Forbes Magazine listed West Virginia as the worst state for business in 2017. According to the report, the Mountain state ranks 50th in both labor supply and growth prospects, and 48th in economic climate.
West Virginia University economics professor Dr. John Deskins says education and health are both negatively affecting how current businesses are maintained and how new ones are turned off of moving their operations to the Mountain State.
“A business will not locate here unless it’s confident that it can find the workers that it needs,” Deskins said. “If we have a lot of people that are poorly educated, if they have poor health outcomes, if they’re hooked on opioids or other drugs, then that makes us less attractive to potential businesses.”
With the coal industry’s future in jeopardy and natural gas commerce commerce on the rise, Deskins says West Virginia and its local economy should not put all their eggs in one basket when it comes to energy.
“Diversifying the economy doesn’t mean taking away one industry and replacing it with one other industry,” Deskins said. “We want to continue to have a healthy energy economy for decades to come.”
With education, health, and an open mind – the recipe is ready for satisfying growth.
“Industrial diversification is very easy to talk about, but it is very hard to accomplish,” Deskins said. “The only way to really do it is through entrepeneurship and fostering an environment that is healthy, supportive, and conducive to small business startup and growth.”
2017 may be coming to a close, but everyone is looking forward to a happy and hopeful new year come January.