West Virginia’ economy may be taking steps toward recovery following several years of downturn. The University of West Virginia’s Mountain State Business Index, which was put together by a group of economists at the school, showed a 0.1 percent increase in July, demonstrating that the state’s recession has ended for the time-being.
John Deskins, director of the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research, commented further on the findings in an interview with The West Virginia Record:
“Our index seems to indicate that the decline is coming to an end, so output isn’t going to shrink further according to our estimates. Jobs aren’t going to shrink much further according to our estimates. That’s positive. But, on a sourer note, the index is just flat. It’s not going back up. It seems like we are going to have a flat, stagnant economy. We don’t see a strong return to growth, at least not in the near term, because we still have these long-term challenges lingering.”
However, the article notes that natural gas production holds promise for the state and could provide a real boost in West Virginia’s energy sector. While production is increasing at a steady rate, West Virginia still lacks the proper infrastructure to transport its wealth of natural resources. As Deskin relates:
“Over time, as we get improved natural gas infrastructure, natural gas production will increase.”
Clearly, in states like West Virginia that still feel the lingering effects of economic recession, energy infrastructure could be a game-changer. Midstream projects like the Rover Pipeline can facilitate natural gas producers’ to regional markets while also creating thousands of jobs and generating millions in tax revenue for state coffers. Pipeline infrastructure is critically important for local and state economies.