Study: West Virginia has Third Worst Economy in U.S.

By Mark Curtis

The decline of West Virginia’s coal industry with the loss of thousands of jobs, is one reason that the financial site, WalletHub.Com, ranked the Mountain State as the third worst state economy in the nation. West Virginia ranks 48th employment, and 50th for high-tech jobs. So, one state Senator is reviving his effort to build a statewide, broadband Internet highway.

“You know to build a fiber optic interstate, with the fastest most affordable broadband speed in the nation, costs less than 100 million dollars. And we’d be able to have an entity that no other state has, to drive business, to foster job creation and economics in our state,” said State Sen. Chris Walters, (R) Putnam.

Senator Walters says it would create 4,000 permanent jobs and add $900 million to the state’s economy. Others we spoke with say West Virginia needs to attract more industrial jobs, and that coal is not dead.

“We have turned into a service sector economy, and that’s not going to continue to carry us into the future. Our kids – if they want a future – we have to have industry,” said Wayne Johnson, who wants the state to attract more industry.

Boosting small business development is another idea, and so is creating more tourist attractions.

“What West Virginia needs is a real cool amusement park. Big, super, best in the United States amusement park. That would be awesome,” said Rob Cleland, who wants more promotion of tourism.

“One idea that we heard often is that the Governor and Legislature need to get a balanced budget and put West Virginia’s fiscal house in order, as a way to improve the overall economy,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.