Based upon recent data, 803 Jackson Countians filed for unemployment benefits in March. In data released today from Workforce West Virginia, Jackson County has an unemployment rate of 6.6 percent. Mark Whitley of the Jackson County Development Authority said he anticipates the numbers for April will be much greater.

Accordingly to Whitley, Jackson County has one of the highest number per capita of people who tested positive in West Virginia. While many of those were in specific clusters it still greatly affected our local economy. Jackson County was hard hit in April and most businesses suffered.

Based upon Workforce West Virginia, Jackson County had a total of 900 people unemployed for the month of March and a total employment number of 12,700. Prior to the pandemic, Jackson County had the lowest unemployment rate of any county in West Virginia for much of 2019 based upon West Virginia labor statistics.

Governor Justice announced on Thursday plans to phase the re-start of several nonessential businesses starting this week. Whitley said this cannot happen soon enough.

“As long as our businesses continue to exercise enhanced health standards in dealing with the public and protect its employees, we believe the phased re-openings will be successful in Jackson County,” said Whitley.