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Wheeling — Holding Steady

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2013:Q2 | PDF

Economic snapshot

The unemployment rate has  been improving at about the same pace as the nation's

Unemployment Rate

Wheeling’s unemployment rate in April (7.3 percent) is slightly below the nation’s (7.6 percent) and above West Virginia’s (6.6 percent). Declines in the metro’s rate during the recovery have been on par with the nation’s. However, Wheeling’s labor force has declined by 1.1 percent since the recovery began in June 2009, while the nation’s has increased 1.2 percent over the same period.

GDP growth per capita has been strong - partly because of population loss

Gross Domestic Product

GDP per capita is a useful measure of a region’s output. Wheeling’s GDP per capita has recovered from the recession a little more quickly than the nation’s and West Virginia’s. Wheeling’s growth in GDP per capita is due to a combination of population loss and strong GDP growth.

House prices have been rising since late 2012

Housing Prices

House prices in Wheeling rose 1.0 percent in April. Year-over-year, they increased 12.6 percent, outperforming the nation and West Virginia. House-price changes turned from negative to positive in December 2012 and have remained positive since.

Employment has been declining


Employment in the Wheeling metro has declined in most months since December 2007, falling 4.6 percent from December 2007 to April 2013. The nation’s employment fell 1.8 percent, while West Virginia’s rose 1.3 percent.

Job growth has been strong in professional services and natural resources/construction

Employment Growth by Sector

From 2011:Q3 to 2012:Q3, the natural resources and construction sector added more jobs (839) than any other sector. Wheeling’s growth in that sector was about triple the nation’s. The professional and business services sector grew faster in Wheeling than in either the United States or West Virginia.

Three sectors, which together employ nearly half the metro's workforce, lost jobs

Relative Employment Growth

Each of Wheeling’s fastest growing sectors— natural resources and construction; and professional and business services —accounts for about 10 percent of the metro’s employment. However, three other large sectors that together account for about 47 percent of employment— government; leisure and hospitality; and trade, transportation, and utilities — all lost jobs.

Rising building-permit activity in West Virginia indicates that people are buying new homes

Housing Permits

Building-permit activity for West Virginia increased in 2012:Q1; the United States and Ohio had similar increases. This indicates that housing and labor markets have improved to the point where individuals are again purchasing new homes. Monthly building-permit data is unavailable for the metro, but annual data shows that Wheeling’s trend in permits has been similar to West Virginia’s.

Weekly wages have been falling recently

Average Weekly Earnings

Average weekly wages measure the earnings of the employed. In the Wheeling metro, average weekly wages fell from a high of $625 in December 2008 to $559 in June 2012. Wheeling saw a larger increase in wages during the recession than did the nation and West Virginia. Since fall of 2011, Wheeling’s wage trend has been similar to the nation’s.

Income per capita has been stable

Income Per Capita

Wheeling’s income per capita increased 6.3 percent from 2007 to 2011. During the recent recession, income per capita was relatively stable in Wheeling and West Virginia, but it declined in the nation.

Demographics and education

Demographics and Education

The Wheeling metropolitan area is the 268th largest (out of 366) in the United States.

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