Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- Tthe faltering U.S. Economy is dragging West Virginia toward a recession.
Economics Professor George Hammond predicts the state's economy will contract next year in West Virginia University's annual forecast released Tuesday.
Still, Hammond predicts the Mountain State will fare better than much of the country.
Continued good fortunes for the coal mining industry and a smattering of other sectors are expected to offset much of the economic damage wrought by falling manufacturing and construction activity.
Hammond says job growth in the state started slowing more than a year ago, dipping to a 0.4 percent rate from mid-2007 to mid-2008.
He blames the national housing crisis for hammering eastern panhandle construction.
He also notes the manufacturing sector's struggles with international competition and soaring energy costs.
(Copyright 2008 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)