West Virginia Executive Spring 2017 - Page 78

[ industry ] Industry Forecasting Outlook West Virginia’s Future JENNIFER JETT PREZKOP West Virginia’s economic woes have been the cause for much concern for several years. With a population that is both aging and shrinking, a major drug epidemic and the challenges facing the state’s ex- traction industry, it’s no wonder the state faced a $500+ million budget deficit for 2017 and is facing an even larger revenue shortfall for 2018. According to “West Virginia Economic Outlook 2017-2021,” published by the West Virginia University (WVU) College of Business and Economics, the slight economic upturn expected over the next five years will provide some relief. While the state’s economic health will rely heavily on that of the U.S. and the broader global economy, the report forecasts a continua- tion in the state’s emergence from the re- cession at a recovery pace of 0.6 percent per year through 2021. In order for West Virginians to help spur job and economic growth in the state, it’s important to understand where we cur- rently are and the challenges we are facing. The information in this piece, taken from “West Virginia Economic Outlook 2017- 2021,” will provide abbreviated insight into West Virginia’s population, employ- ment, exports and income rates and will look at eight specific industries in which the most growth is expected over the next five years. Editor’s Note: The information and graphics in this article have been taken from “West Virginia Economic Outlook 2017-2021,” published in October 2016. For more information or to read the report in full, visit business.wvu.edu/centers/bu- reau-of-business-and-economic-research/ economic-outlook. POPULATION Despite the fact that West Virginia gained more than 26,500 residents between 2005-2015, 32 of the state’s 55 counties actually registered outright losses in population. The counties that have lost population have done so due to natural population decline and/or negative net migration flows. Over the next five years, 19 counties are expected to see their population numbers remain stable or increase during the outlook period. Berkeley, Jefferson and Monongalia counties will be West Virginia’s fastest-growing counties at 1.3, 1.1 and 0.9 percent, respectively. Graph 5.1 Annual Population Growth, 2005-2015 SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau 76 WEST VIRGINIA EXECUTIVE Graph 5.2 Forecast Annual Population Growth, 2016-2021 SOURCE: WVU BBER County Econometric Model