Hino to add 250 jobs at new plant

MORGANTOWN –Auto manufacturing will be the fastest growing in the manufacturing segment of West Virginia’s economy with the expansion of Hino Manufacturing prominent in the forecast, according to a report by the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

“The completion of the Hino Motors Manufacturing truck assembly plant in the Parkersburg area stands as the largest source of growth for this subsector, but previous expansions by Toyota and growth at other parts suppliers in the Kanawha Valley will likely yield additional gains during the outlook period,” “West Virginia Economic Outlook 2019-2023” said. The report was released last week.

The Hino Motors Manufacturing addition is a $100 million truck assembly plant at the Parkersburg Business Park area that will add 250 jobs by mid-2020.

The highest rates of job growth tend to be in the northern half of the state and that population gains will be concentrated in North Central West Virginia and the Eastern Panhandle, the report said.

“While the state overall is expected to lose population in coming years, around a dozen counties are expected to add residents and several more are expected to remain generally stable,” the report said.

The number of federal employees also has increased in the state, the report said.

“On a positive note, federal government payrolls in West Virginia have increased over the past two years, largely as a result of hiring by the U.S. Treasury in the Parkersburg area and the Eastern Panhandle and the FBI at its Criminal Justice Information Services Division in Harrison County,” the report said.

Some areas of West Virginia are seeing healthy growth while others continue to experience economic weaknesses and population loss, John Deskins, economist and director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, said last week at a statewide economics conference in Charleston.

Job growth since late 2016 has been concentrated in only eight counties and has been largely driven by growth in energy industries, the report said. Six counties are expected to lose jobs in the forecast time period and the fastest growing segment of income is non-wage income, such as Social Security benefits.

“This uneven recovery shows substantial differences in the various regions of our state,” Deskins said. “That is the snapshot of West Virginia, where a few areas are prospering, but many are not.”