WorkForce West Virginia

On this West Virginia Morning, the coronavirus has put thousands of West Virginians out of work, but for many navigating the unemployment system has been challenging. We hear a conversation with WorkForce West Virginia, the agency administering unemployment benefits, on how they’re adapting in this unprecedented time. And we hear from one West Virginia teacher on how she is navigating distanced teaching.

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West Virginians who are self-employed or independent contractors will soon be able to apply for unemployment benefits if they’ve been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

During a virtual press conference Monday hosted by state officials, Scott Adkins, director of WorkForce West Virignia, said beginning on Friday at 10 p.m. workers who would not otherwise be eligible for benefits, including gig workers, freelancers and Uber and Lyft drivers, will also be able to apply for benefits under the CARES Act passed last month by Congress.

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West Virginia has received two federal grants to help with infrastructure and workforce projects in the state.

More than $2 million was awarded to Workforce West Virginia through the National Dislocated Worker Grant for programs to help out-of-work coal miners.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says four more counties have been identified as coronavirus hot spots.
 

In a virtual news conference on Friday, April 10, Justice outlined continued response to the virus,  including the identification of more hotspots, grants to cover additional pay for frontline workers and a boost to staff to handle unemployment claims.

West Virginia Department of Commerce Cabinet Secretary Ed Gaunch speaks with reporters in a virual press conference on March 26, 2020.
WV Governor's Office

West Virginians applying for unemployment benefits online could experience intermittent outages because the number of businesses closing or scaling back operations due to the coronavirus outbreak has sent claims surging, the state's commerce chief said Thursday.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Unemployment rates rose in 39 of West Virginia's 55 counties in October.

WorkForce West Virginia says unemployment rates dropped in Clay and Pendleton counties and was unchanged in 14 other counties.

Join West Virginia Public Broadcasting and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg as we co-host a FREE panel discussion with regional experts exploring the future of job opportunities in the Eastern Panhandle – and how to get there.

Dried lumber arrives at Gat Creek.  Workers sort through each board by hand.
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West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.4 percent in February.

WorkForce West Virginia says the number of unemployed state residents rose by 100 during the month to 42,200. Total unemployment was up 2,200 over the year.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Unemployment rates rose in all 55 West Virginia counties in November.

WorkForce West Virginia says Jefferson County's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 3 percent was the lowest in the state, followed by Doddridge, Monongalia and Pendleton counties at 3.4 percent apiece.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

An annual Eastern Panhandle Economic Outlook conference was held in Martinsburg, showing job growth is steady in the Eastern Panhandle and is expected to grow in the coming years.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen four-tenths of a percentage point to 5.2 percent in February.

WorkForce West Virginia says the number of unemployed residents fell by 3,300 to 40,300. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 1,700.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Unemployment rates rose in 20 of West Virginia's 55 counties in December.

WorkForce West Virginia says the unemployment rate fell in 31 counties and was unchanged in four others.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly in December to 5.9 percent.

WorkForce West Virginia says the number of unemployed residents dropped by 1,100 to 46,800.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Unemployment rates dropped in 48 of West Virginia's 55 counties in November.

WorkForce West Virginia says the unemployment rate rose in Calhoun, Pocahontas and Roane counties and was unchanged in four others.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in August at 5.7 percent.

WorkForce West Virginia said in a news release Tuesday that the number of unemployed state residents dropped by 200 last month to 44,800.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point in July to 5.7 percent.

WorkForce West Virginia said in a news release Tuesday that it's the state's lowest unemployment rate since December 2008.

Federal labor officials say another $4.3 million is heading into West Virginia to help out-of-work coal miners.

A U.S. Department of Labor news release Tuesday says the National Dislocated Worker Grant money will go to WorkForce West Virginia.

The release says West Virginia has previously received $10.7 million combined since 2012 through the grant program.

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West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped slightly in April to 6.4 percent.

WorkForce West Virginia said in a news release Tuesday that the number of unemployed state residents dropped by 1,000 last month to 50,400.

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West Virginia is holding a state government career fair this week.

The state Division of Personnel and WorkForce West Virginia are sponsoring the event Wednesday at the Culture Center in Charleston. It is open to the public.

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West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in March at 6.5 percent.

WorkForce West Virginia said in a news release Tuesday that the number of unemployed state residents increased by 600 last month to 51,400.

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West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched higher in January.

WorkForce West Virginia says in a news release that the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.3 percent. The number of unemployed state residents increased by 1,000 in January to 49,400.

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Unemployment rates increased in 30 of West Virginia's 55 counties in November.

Workforce West Virginia says unemployment rates fell in 16 other counties, while nine counties saw no change.

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A Kanawha County man has been charged with threats to a state government jobs agency.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, Joseph William Estep threatened to blow up a WorkForce West Virginia office after being told by an employee during a Dec. 14 call that he would not receive money from his unemployment claim.

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Unemployment rates dropped in 51 of West Virginia's 55 counties in October.

WorkForce West Virginia says Jefferson County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.2 percent, followed by Monongalia County at 3.9 percent, and Berkeley and Hampshire counties each at 4 percent.

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Magnus Manske / Wikimedia Commons

Despite a recent drop in West Virginia’s unemployment rate, many of the state’s industries continue to see a decline in jobs. One company is using federal grant money to help improve the lives of those who have found themselves out of work in the southwestern part of the state.

Brian Spence is from Wayne, West Virginia. He’s one of many people who were laid off from the Rockspring mine in May He said it was time to find something else. 

Coal Layoffs, unemployed
Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped four-tenths of a percentage point to 6.9 percent in October.

WorkForce West Virginia says in a news release that the number of unemployed state residents fell by 3,500 in October to 54,300.

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Walmart continues to be the largest private employer in West Virginia.

Based on the available records provided by WorkForce West Virginia, Walmart has been the state's top private sector employer since at least 1999.

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West Virginia will receive another funding boost from the federal government to help with job training and career services for laid-off coal miners.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday that the state will receive up to $7.6 million from a grant program.

Construction Labor
Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia workforce officials say most rates under the state's new prevailing wage for public construction projects are dropping slightly.

The new prevailing wage became effective Wednesday. WorkForce West Virginia research director Jeff Green says 58 percent of rates for various jobs dropped, while 42 percent increased. He used Kanawha County for the comparison.

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West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly in August to 7.6 percent.

August's rate was one-tenth of a percentage point higher than July's rate. Workforce West Virginia says 59,800 state residents were unemployed, an increase of 700 from July.

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