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The State of the State of West Virginia

February 10, 2009 - Joselyn King
When legislative reporters from across the state met with Gov. Joe Manchin in Charleston last week, he didn't offer many specifics as to what will be in his State of the State address Wednesday night.

He did say that there would be no cuts in the cuts he would submit to lawmakers this week. But nevertheless, he hinted that West Virginians could be paying more for unemployment benefits in the coming months. This comes as Manchin presumably expects more to apply for unemployment this year.

West Virginia's unemployment still is well below the national average of 7.6 percent at 4.6 percent -- ranking it 31st amont the 50 states.

Coincidently, Morgantown's unemployment rate of 2.7 percent is thought to be the lowest local rate in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Still, Manchin sees plants like the Century Aluminum plant in Ravenswood closing before his eyes, not to mention the uncertainties in the North Panhandle's steel industry.

"We can handle an unemployment rate of 8 percent," Manchin told the reporters. "After that. . . ."


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