We are curious about the way communities and economies have changed over time. In WV, we have taken a closer look at top private industry employers in order to shape discussions around the questions "Where are we now?", "Where do we want to go?", and "How will we get there?". To understand where we are now, though, we have to address the question "Where have we been?". In WV, one big change in the past several decades has been in the reign of manufacturing jobs. To figure out just how big of a change there has been, we had to find some information about top industries in WV over time. While manufacturing was the #1 private industry employer in 1979, it dropped to #5 in 2011, employing 51,832 people compared to 131,828. This is just one comparison we pulled out from an infographic in the What's Next, WV? downloadable discussion guide. Visit the guide by clicking on this link, or by visiting the Materials section of our website.

This infographic stirs up questions like the ones below. If you are interested in sharing your answers, see if there is a What's Next, WV? discussion coming up in your area. If not, sign up to start a conversation!:

  • Think about what our economy was like in the past. What would you like to retain or recapture?
  • What are the greatest strengths of your community?
  • What work is already underway in your community to build a stronger economy?
  • What other information do you need to move forward? Who else needs to be involved?