Group Says WV Labor Force at Lowest Participation Rate in Two Decades

A nonprofit research group says West Virginia's labor force has dropped to its lowest participation rate in 20 years.

The Charleston Gazette reports more than 30,000 residents have dropped out of the labor force since the start of the recession in December 2007. In February, 53.5 percent of West Virginians age 16 and older were working or seeking jobs.

West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy executive director Ted Boettner says some people who can't find jobs drop out of the labor force altogether. Other factors include people retiring or pursuing an education degree.

Boettner suggests the state spend more money on work force training. The report found funding from the Governor's Guaranteed Work Force Program has dropped from $4.5 million in 2000 to $1 million this year.

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