West Virginia fares well in global economy
For the third consecutive year, businesses in West Virginia set a record in sales to customers in foreign countries. The value of the state's exports topped $11.3 billion in 2012.
That is a leap of more than 25 percent from $9 billion the previous year.
To put that $11.3 billion in perspective, researchers at the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University have estimated the state's total output of goods and services at $66 billion a year.
Exports account for $1 of every $6.
Five years ago, in 2007, state officials were ecstatic over the news that businesses had exported slightly less than $4 billion worth of goods and services.
Coal accounted for $7.4 billion of the state's total exports last year, and for $2.1 billion of the $2.3 billion increase. But non-coal exports also set a record.
As the legislative session slowly unfolds, state residents will hear a lot about what is wrong with their state, and most of what we will hear is true.
But West Virginians must bear in mind that for all our troubles and woes, we are competing and succeeding on the world stage.