Economy

Mountain State Brewing Co.

Growers are being sought to participate in a three-year research project to determine the viability of hop production in West Virginia.
 
The project will be conducted by the West Virginia State University Extension Service.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With the state eclipsing the $5 billion mark for tourism revenue in 2012, this week’s Travel  South Conference in Charleston gave visitors bureaus across the state a chance to cash in and drive even more tourism opportunities to their respective areas. But the conference comes nearly seven weeks after the spill of thousands of gallons of MCHM into the Elk River by Freedom Industries. 

Many locals worry that the tourism economy would, much like the water, be left with a tainted reputation. Tourism professionals from across the country seemed unphased by the water crisis while here and local travel professionals hope the stigma of the spill won’t last. 

Jobs First Program Helps Huntington’s Homeless

Feb 25, 2014

Officials at the Cabell-Huntington Coalition for the Homeless are taking a new approach to the problem of homelessness and unemployment.

  Jobs First is a new idea developed by coalitions around the country. Instead of working with job candidates by training, developing and molding them before they apply for jobs, Jobs First helps them find jobs right away and continues to train them while they’re employed.

Helping the unemployed and homeless find work first puts them one step closer to a stable living environment where they can provide for themselves.

Jessica Lilly

The legislative session last year is often referred to as the "year of education reform" as lawmakers looked for ways to improve education quality.

West Virginia is ranked 48th in teacher pay and right around the middle of the road compared to other states for cost of living. Educators say there is a connection to quality.

Although West Virginia teachers get a 1.5 percent pay increase each year until they reach 35 years, teacher salaries are among the lowest paid in the nation.

International Energy Agency

The report, titled “The Social Costs of Carbon? No, The Social Benefits Of Carbon,” highlights a forecasted decline in oil demand in the world’s energy market.

Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has unanimously passed a bill to conserve and invest a portion of oil and gas revenues to use for future infrastructure and economic development.

The Future Fund Bill passed Friday sets aside 25 percent of the severance tax revenues collected from private oil and gas companies above a $175 million benchmark. This benchmark projects funds needed to sustain government operations.
 

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The company at the center of West Virginia's chemical spill is selling the rest of its chemicals, helping employees find new jobs and winding down operations.

Saying the small company's problems exceed its size, attorney Mark Freedlander announced Freedom Industries' plans in federal bankruptcy court Friday. The company won't use up to $4 million the court had permitted Freedom to borrow to keep running.

Economic Policy Institute

A recent study says income inequality between the top 1% of West Virginia's wealthiest and rest of working West Virginians is among the highest in the nation.

While the West Virginia legislature considers increasing the state's minimum wage, a new report shows  the state's top 1% of income earners captured over half of all West Virginia's income growth between 1979 and 2007.

Submitted Photo / W.Va. Dept. of Commerce

The Berkeley County Development Authority has announced Rust-Oleum Corp. will open a distribution center in Martinsburg.

Development Authority Executive Director Stephen Christian says the company will lease about 630,000 square feet in the Shockey Commerce Center.

Christian said the Authority has been working with the company since April to find a location.

Rust-Oleum is headquarted in Vernon Hills, Ill. and manufactures protective paint and coatings. Between 80 and 100 people will work at the facility.

The Wall Street Journal, on their blog titled Bankruptcy Beat, breaks down millions of dollars doled out to Freedom Industries executives and those at related companies before the January 9 spill and their soon-to-follow bankruptcy filing.

Tips to Protect Against Identity Fraud

Feb 18, 2014
Chelsea Demello / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The security breaches that led to issues with credit cards used at some major retailers has brought attention to the problem of  identity theft.

Shepherd University recently held an open workshop for students on how prevent becoming just another statistic. 

Students were quizzed on their knowledge at the beginning of the workshop and then again after the workshop to see what they had learned.   

During the workshop, BB&T Spokesman Robert Hennen gave several tips to protect against identity theft and fraud, such as:  

Three West Virginia-based companies have received grants to help commercialize new technologies.
 
The Chemical Alliance Zone's Chemical and Materials Commercialization Fund awarded $20,000 to Liberty Hydro Inc. for a portable water-filtration pilot unit. The unit will be used to demonstrate the company's clean-water technology at customer sites.
 

The House Judiciary Committee heard thoughts and concerns during a public hearing over a piece of pending legislation: HB4411 - allowing the disposal of drill cuttings and associated drilling waste generated from fracking sites in commercial solid waste facilities.

Some History:

Some Recent History:

State-Wide Concern:

Some Science:

The Advocate:

The House of Delegates approves a bill that would provide benefits for businesses working with technologies not currently in West Virginia if they locate or expand in launch pads areas in the state. The Division of Corrections is honored through a resolution in the Senate, and  Jonathan Mattise of the Associated Press & Mandi Cardosi of The State Journal speak with Friday host Ashton Marra about the latest on the status of the chemical spill bill in the House, as well as the Attorney General's actions after reports of price gouging during the water crisis.

Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia's attorney general is accusing a convenience store company of illegally raising water prices while running water was unusable after a chemical spill.
 
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed the enforcement action Friday in Putnam County Circuit Court, claiming Mid Valley Mart more than doubled prices for one-gallon water jugs to $3.39 at two Hurricane stores. The complaint also says one customer paid more than $40 for 12 one-gallon jugs.
 

Nate May's Prius is loaded down with water. The back is filled with boxes, each holding three one-gallon jugs that he just bought at Walmart. He and other volunteers are driving around Charleston, W.V., dropping off the jugs to people who have contacted his ad hoc group, the West Virginia Clean Water Hub. It's paid for with donations.

"There are a lot of people this has put in a difficult bind. Some of them can't get out, some of them are elderly, some of them — it's just too much of a financial burden," May says. "We just take them at their word if they say they need water."

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A local research group has calculated that roughly $61 million was lost by local businesses as a result of the chemical spill into the Elk River.

wvfunnyman / wikimedia Commons

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams has enacted a hiring freeze and stopped unnecessary spending for the remaining five months of the fiscal year.
 
     Williams said at a City Council work session Thursday that Huntington's revenues and expenditures are normal, but the state's second-largest city has less than $100,000 in contingency funds.
 

Flickr / davidwilson1949

For the first time this fiscal year, state tax collections in West Virginia have exceeded monthly projections.
 
     Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow tells media outlets that despite the surplus of $8.4 million in January, collections through the first seven months of the fiscal year are $73 million less than anticipated.
 

Foo Conner / Flickr

West Virginia residents and small businesses affected by a water-use ban will receive credits for clearing out their water systems.
 
     West Virginia American Water will give small businesses a 2,000-gallon credit worth about $20 per water bill. The credit for 5,280 affected small businesses also accounts for flushing their systems and additional cleaning requirements.
 

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Appalachian Regional Commission turns 50 this year and has awarded a grant to West Virginia University and two other agencies to analyze whether it’s been successful.

The $300,000 grant will allow the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research and Regional Research Institute to work with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness based in Arlington, Va., to identify what economic development strategies have worked.

Legislators, state public health officials, and West Virginia American Water react to reports of formaldehyde found in the water of a Charleston business, the House rejects a resolution that would have allowed those absent while serving in the military to vote in the legislature, and Anne Barth og TechConnect and  Marjorie Darrah of eTouchSciences discuss how the legislature can help spur economic innovation.

Subscribe to the podcast for daily downloads of the program.

West Virginia University College of Business and Economics

A new study says 48 percent of West Virginia's public college graduates over the past decade are working in the state.
 
     The study by the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics looked at work participation and income of the last decade's graduates who worked in the state in 2012.
 
     Their average income in 2012 was $$41,847.
 
     According to the study, more than half of these graduates were employed in social assistance and education services, and health care.
 

According to the USDA, 30 to 40 percent of the food produced in America goes uneaten. Barbara Hartman is a registered dietician and works as the chief of nutrition and food service at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Her mission? To reduce food waste. Mona Iskander of PBS NewsHour reports on how new businesses have emerged to help kitchens reduce food waste while turning a profit.

region1workforcewestvirginia.org

West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.9 percent in December.
 
     WorkForce West Virginia says the number of unemployed residents fell by 1,300. For the year, total state unemployment was down 13,500.

A new report says West Virginians paid 1.2 percent more for utilities in 2013 than in the previous year, primarily because of increases in natural gas and water rates.  
 
     The report released Wednesday by the Public Service Commission's Consumer Advocate Division says the average West Virginia utility customer paid $280.62 a month for gas, electricity, water and telephone service last year. In 2012, the average monthly cost was $277.22.  
 

Glynis Board / WVPublic

A new tool to train riverboat workers allows trainees to smack into bridges and barges without risking millions of dollars in damages.

The tri-state port of Huntington is the largest inland port in America—bigger than Baltimore and bigger than Philadelphia, based on the tonnage that travels through. That river activity accounts for more than a billion and a half dollars of West Virginia’s economy, as well as some 10,000 jobs. And the inland maritime industry is projecting 1.5 percent in job growth annually over the next decade.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

House Bill 4175 was introduced yesterday and sent to the new Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. The committee approved the bill to be sent to the finance committee, which today approved it to be sent to the floor. The delegates voted unanimously to suspend the second and third readings of the bill to allow immediate action.

Small Businesses Struggle With Water Ban

Jan 14, 2014

As the water ban was lifted throughout the Charleston area yesterday restaurants and bars started to open their doors for the first time since Thursday.

Deno Stanley is the owner of Adelphia Sports Bar and Grille in downtown Charleston. He said when he received word last Thursday that he would have to close because of the water ban he was not happy.

Aaron Payne

With the challenges of a tight budget year ahead, the first goal was immediately understood because balancing the state budget is mandated by the constitution.

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