Positively West Virginia
Positively West Virginia
Episode 37: West Virginia Business Outlook: Forecasting WV's Economy with John Deskins
West Virginia business outlook

2017 West Virginia Economic Outlook Conference held in Charleston, WV. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond president Jeffrey M. Lacker and WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director John Deskins forecast the coming year’s economic trends. A panel representing the state’s key business and industry sectors discuss implications of the forecast from their perspectives.October 4, 2016. (J. Alex Wilson – WVU College of Business and Economics)

John Deskins, PhD serves as Assistant Dean for Outreach and Engagement, Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) and as an associate professor of economics at the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. He leads the Bureau’s effort to serve the state of West Virginia, providing rigorous economic and macroeconomic forecasting to business leaders and policy makers across the state. Deskins will be speaking at the West Virginia Business Outlook conference throughout October and November.

The BBER conference, founded in 1994, is a public event. Hundreds of business and community leaders across the state will attend this conference to obtain forecasts for the national and state economies, analyses of recent national and state trends and join in the discussion what their thoughts are on the West Virginia business outlook.


Show Notes:

  • 00:31-3:34: Jim introduces today’s guest of the show, John Deskins, PhD, Assistant Dean for Outreach and Engagement, Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research and as an associate professor of economics at the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. Jim fills the listeners in on some background of Deskins and asks him to fill in some of the gaps.
  • 3:35-4:35: Deskins talks about his role in WVU’s economic forecasting, his experience as a professor in higher education, and his WV roots.
  • 5:20-5:30: How did you get started in the field of economics?
  • 5:30-6:40: Deskins attributes his passion for economics to an open mind in his early college years, which lead him to a minor, a major, and eventually a PhD.
  • 6:40-6:55: Jim admires Deskin’s economic forecasting because it is based on facts.
  • 6:55-7:25: “There is room for debate an disagreement, but at least we all have the same foundation to argue from.”
  • 7:28-7:39: What’re you most excited about for West Virginia’s economy?
  • 7:40-8:54: “From 2012 to 2016 our state suffered greatly. We lost 26,000 jobs. No we are growing at a pretty good rate, adding back 7,000 jobs.”
  • 9:20-9:32: Which regions of the state are doing well and which ones aren’t doing so well?
  • 9:34-13:18: “Energy and construction industry are booming and contributing to overall job growth. Job growth in West Virginia is geographically concentrated. A general rule of thumb is that the major growth is happening in the northern half of the state. The Eastern Panhandle, North Central West Virginia and the gas boom counties are all doing well economically. South Western West Virginia has been in a great depression, loosing 25 percent of their jobs.”
  • 13:24-13:30: Why is economic disparity regional in our state?
  • 13:34-15:00: “A lot of it has to do with energy. The geography in the southern half of the state is so rugged, it is difficult to develop and these counties are relying heavily on coal.”
  • 15:36-15:52: Talk about diversifying our economy and what your thoughts are on that.
  • 15:54-17:55: “Diversification doesn’t mean taking away one industry and replacing it with another. Diversification means not putting all our eggs in one basket and having several super-sectors so that if one suffers we still can have overall economic prosperity. Ultimately, nobody knows what will work for our state until an entrepreneur tries it. And the next logical step is producing an environment where small business entrepreneurship can grow.”
  • 17:58-18:22: Positively West Virginia Sponsor Break
  • 18:30-19:12: How do we keep our young people here in West Virginia?
  • 19:15-22:21: “Providing opportunity for students, teaching entrepreneurship, focusing on experiential learning. West Virginia University has created small business incubators to promote small business growth.”
  • 22:24-23:25: Jordan Masters small business example.
  • 23:26-24:05: “We need to get people to think about entrepreneurship through positive storytelling like Positively West Virginia.”
  • 24:08-24:30: What is one piece of advice you would give an aspiring entrepreneur?
  • 24:33-25:48: “Be open-minded, be a life-life-long learner and understand how your product fits in the marketplace.”
  • 26:25-26:32: What is one thing you do everyday that contributes to your success?
  • 26:35-27:30: “I spend all day reading, I really like learning, and I am constantly trying to learn new things.”
  • 27:30-27:40: What is one resource that you use that you can’t live without?
  • 27:41-28:13: “I read the Wall Street Journal everyday.”
  • 28:16-28:20: What is one book you would recommend for aspiring business people?
  • 28:20-30:06: The Armchair Economist and Freakonomics 
  • 30:30-30:45: Share a little bit about the economic outlook conferences you will be starting on October 3rd.
  • 30:45-30:00: “We will talk about national economics, state economics, government policies and hear from some West Virginia economic rockstars.”
  • 32:50-33:00: West Virginia Business Outlook Conference: Register here!
  • 33:55-33:59: What is the best way for people to learn about you?
  • 34:00-34:13: “Email me at john.deskins@mail.wvu.edu and on the WV College of Economics website.”