CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's economy ended 2012 on a positive note after 10 straight months of job losses, when December saw a gain of 900 non-farm jobs.
In December, the Mountain State had a total of 746,900 jobs -- still 13,400 jobs less than before the economic recession began in December 2007.
The state's unemployment rate grew in December from 7.3 percent to 7.5 percent, according to "Jobs Count" -- a monthly report released by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.
Sean O'Leary, a policy analyst for the Center who prepares the reports, pointed out employment changes in December were relatively "small" for the state's major job sectors:
* Manufacturing companies added 700 jobs, an increase of 1.5 percent.
* Construction employers added 400 jobs, an increase of 1.2 percent.
* Government jobs rose by 400. The education and health services sector also added 400 jobs -- an increase of 0.3 for each sector.
Some economic sectors experienced job losses:
* The trade, transportation, and utilities sector lost 800 jobs, a 0.6 percent drop.
* Coal mining and logging companies saw small declines in jobs. So did the professional and business services sector. Employment dropped by 0.3 percent for both sectors.
During the five years since the recession began, O'Leary points out, some employment sectors were harder hit than others.
The bulk of West Virginia's job losses, which totaled 13,400, came from two employment sectors over the past five years:
* Trade, transportation and utility companies lost 12,000 jobs.