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Jefferson Co. jobless rates among best in state

November 03, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson and Monongalia counties had the best unemployment rates in the state in September, according to economic officials.

Both counties had an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent during the month, according to figures released by the West Virginia Bureau of Employment.

Monongalia County is the home of Morgantown, W.Va., and West Virginia University.

The 2.6 percent is considered much better than average by state economic officials.

Morgan County had an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent during September and Berkeley County's rate was 4 percent, economic officials said. Those rates are considered better than average.

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The numbers were released last month and indicated that all three area counties in the Eastern Panhandle have improved their unemployment numbers over last year.

Jefferson County's 2.6 rate was a full 1 percent improvement over last year. Both Berkeley (4.8 percent in September 2002) and Morgan (3.2 percent in September 2002) counties also saw better numbers in 2003.

The state's unemployment rate fell 1 percent to 5.2 percent, economic officials said.

Jefferson County's strong unemployment rate can be attributed to the large number of county residents who commute outside the state for jobs, said Jane Peters, executive director of the Jefferson County Development Authority.

The county's unemployment rate also is good is because the local economy has been stable, Peters said.

There have been no layoffs or business closings, which could drive up the unemployment rate, Peters said, adding that the county has had a strong unemployment rate for years.

"It really doesn't change too much," Peters said.

As for the future, the development authority is working on several projects, which could make it even lower, Peters said.

Although it is too early to release details, the development authority is working on bringing a new employer to the area and working on some business expansions, Peters said.

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