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An opportunity for West Virginia’s future

As with much of the country, West Virginia’s economy took a hard hit as a result of businesses being shut down as part of efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the recovery is happening, it is expected to take time, according to economists from West Virginia University.

That was expected, of course.

To have businesses, some of which already were struggling, suddenly shuttered, it will take months, possibly even years, to get back up to where they were. That is, at least, for those who were able to reopen.

West Virginia is reported to have lost 94,000 jobs from February to April. Businesses might not initially have the revenue to bring them all back as quickly as we might like. In fact, by mid-May, only about 13,000 of those lost jobs had returned.

This is uncharted territory for the Mountain State, and while manufacturing industries are reported to be stabilizing and retail operations are increasing, we still truly don’t know what the future holds.

One potential bright point in all of this is that West Virginia has an opportunity to open itself up to new types of businesses.

As WVU officials pointed out, the pandemic has shown that some jobs can be performed remotely, which can mean possibilities in technology and other industries incorporating internet-based work. That would necessitate increased investment in broadband infrastructure throughout the state, but it can be done.

Such an investment and focus also could help to retain some of our younger residents, instead of them leaving for jobs in other parts of the country.

As difficult as the last few months have been, with the right guidance and effort, West Virginia can rise bigger and better than before.

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