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Justin Fox

The Limits of West Virginia's Recent Comeback

Coal mining won't attract the educated workers the state needs to thrive.
Not everything is rising.

Not everything is rising.

Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

For all of 2014 and 2015 and the first half of 2016, fewer than 50 percent of West Virginians age 16 and older had jobs. Those dark days are over. In April, according to state jobs data released Friday, the state's employment-to-population ratio was up to 50.6 percent.

This shift in economic fortunes is also apparent in the state's unemployment rate, which has gone from one of the highest in the country in 2015 to middle of the road now.