West Virginia Ranks High in Economic Growth

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A new study ranks West Virginia 10th in the country when it comes to economic growth. The state had the largest gross domestic product growth in the southeast, and that means jobs. West Virginia's commerce secretary says it's not just this year's number that's important to look at, but the fact that it's becoming a trend.

People here aren’t just finding work, but others are moving here to find work.

Casey Willits has lived all over the United States -- Tampa, Fla., New Orleans, Fayetteville, Ark., and now Charleston, W.Va.

“My friends asked me, why would you move to West Virginia?” Willits said.

For Willits, like many others new to the state, it was work.

“I told them, first of all ... This job is there,” Willits said. “But let me tell you what else.”

Six weeks after moving here, he's smitten with the city.

“I like the smaller city where you actually know enough people to feel a part of your community,” Willits said.

And everything else the state has to offer ...

“I can go to Washington D.C.,” Willits said. “I can go to Columbus. I can go to the mountains. I can go to New River. I can't wait until the winter so I can go to Snowshoe.”

The state's commerce secretary says stories like Willits’ aren't uncommon. West Virginia is doing better than much of the rest of the country right now. That means people are moving here, and the people who are already here have some good opportunities in front of them.

“We have people coming to West Virginia to work,” Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said. “I think it's important though, we build the kind of economy that gives every West Virginian that's already here the opportunity to find work.”

For Willits, the move here was not something he'd ever planned.

“I never thought I'd end up in West Virginia,” Willits said. “I didn't know anything about West Virginia. All I knew was 'Country Roads.' ”

But he's glad those roads led him where they did.

“I can't imagine being anywhere else right now,” Willits said.

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