West Virginia Q2, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 51,466 employers, up 0.9% from 50,991
  • 697,247 employees, down 0.1% from 696,330
  • $889 average weekly wage, up 2.4% from $868
  • The average weekly wage is 18.8% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 8.9% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 475, which is an increase of 0.9%. The number of employees in West Virginia declined by 917, a decline of 0.1%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $21, an increase of 2.4%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 496 or 1.1%. Growth in private businesses in West Virginia grew slower than the national average of 2.9%. The number of employees in these businesses decreased since last years' Q1, declining by 785 or 0.1%. The growth in employees of private businesses in West Virginia was slower than the national average of 1.4%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $16 or 1.9%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in West Virginia grew slower than the national average of 3.8%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Retail trade with 12.1% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector declined by 1.7%. Other services (11.3%), which increased by 6.1% and Healthcare (10.5%), which increased by 0.7%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Educational services256.3%
Information496.3%
Other services3346.1%
Utilities62.6%
Real estate and rental382.5%
Company management122.4%
Transport and warehousing301.9%
Professional services921.9%
Waste services521.7%
Healthcare350.7%
Mining and oil extraction30.4%
Wholesale trade110.4%
Accommodation and food services-5-0.1%
Arts and entertainment-2-0.2%
Manufacturing-2-0.2%
Finance and insurance-18-0.7%
Construction-29-0.7%
Retail trade-105-1.7%
Agriculture and forestry-14-3.2%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 17.1% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 0.8% in the last year. Retail trade (11.5%), decreased by 3.7% and Accommodation and food services (9.7%), increased by 1.2%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Arts and entertainment4034.9%
Educational services2894.7%
Other services4382.2%
Transport and warehousing3662.0%
Real estate and rental1121.7%
Company management1141.6%
Accommodation and food services8321.2%
Healthcare1,0280.8%
Mining and oil extraction1580.7%
Manufacturing3060.7%
Professional services1240.4%
Waste services460.1%
Wholesale trade-23-0.1%
Finance and insurance-37-0.2%
Utilities-26-0.5%
Agriculture and forestry-41-2.2%
Construction-1,496-3.5%
Information-304-3.6%
Retail trade-3,071-3.7%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Utilities paying $1,719per week compared with the state average of $866. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $69 or 4.2%. Mining and oil extraction ($1,591), rose by $33 or 2.1% and Company management ($1,581) increased by $22 or 1.4% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Agriculture and forestry$539.3%
Wholesale trade$524.6%
Waste services$314.5%
Retail trade$244.5%
Utilities$694.2%
Healthcare$283.3%
Other services$203.3%
Accommodation and food services$92.7%
Real estate and rental$202.5%
Manufacturing$262.3%
Mining and oil extraction$332.1%
Arts and entertainment$51.5%
Company management$221.4%
Educational services$81.2%
Transport and warehousing$111.1%
Finance and insurance$30.3%
Information$-5-0.5%
Professional services$-12-1.0%
Construction$-62-4.8%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In West Virginia. the industry with the most businesses is Private households with 5.5% of the businesses in the state (with 2,839 employing 2,869 workers). The Private households industry had 341 more businesses, an increase of 13.7% in the last year. Restaurants and other eating places (5.5% of businesses) had 26 fewer businesses, a decline of 0.9% and Offices of physicians (2.7% of businesses) had 12 fewer businesses, a decline of 0.9% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Management training5100.0%
Footwear merchant wholesalers3100.0%
School and employee bus transportation150.0%
Fish and seafood markets250.0%
Luggage and leather goods stores150.0%
Breweries646.2%
All other financial investment activities1045.5%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Private households34113.7%
Computer systems design and related services484.5%
Management consulting services376.7%
All other professional and technical services2635.1%
Data processing hosting and related services2225.9%
Offices of specialty therapists207.3%
Medical equipment merchant wholesalers1813.8%


Employees by Industry

Restaurants and other eating places (5.5% of employees) had 26 fewer employees, a decline of 0.9% and Offices of physicians (2.7% ofemployees) had 12 fewer employees, a decline of 0.9% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Other support activities for road transport.107210.9%
Freight transportation arrangement103120.5%
Educational support services39193.3%
Breweries5263.4%
Other ground passenger transportation11153.9%
Other services related to advertising9841.5%
All other financial investment activities2839.1%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
General medical and surgical hospitals9732.5%
Restaurants and other eating places6831.3%
Educational support services39193.3%
Plumbing and hvac contractors3019.1%
Landscaping services2827.3%
Other gambling industries27710.4%
Private households26410.1%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Investment banking and securities dealing, paying $3,944 compared with the state average of $866. Employees in the Investment banking and securities dealing industry were paid $0 more per week, an increase of 0.0% in the last year. Securities brokerage ($2,681) and Satellite telecommunications ($2,566) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Securities brokerage ($2,681 per week) were paid $207 less per week, a decline of 7.2% and Satellite telecommunications ($2,566 per week) were paid $964 more per week, an increase of 60.2% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Satellite telecommunications$96460.2%
Appliance and electronics merchant whls.$36645.0%
Jewelry merchant wholesalers$11531.2%
Tile and terrazzo contractors$13826.3%
Other ground passenger transportation$8825.7%
Vegetable and melon farming$8125.5%
New motor vehicle parts merchant wholesalers$19725.2%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Satellite telecommunications$96460.2%
Appliance and electronics merchant whls.$36645.0%
Other activities related to real estate$33221.7%
Footwear merchant wholesalers$28014.9%
Roofing and siding merchant wholesalers$25323.8%
Computer and software merchant wholesalers$24316.0%
Nonscheduled air transportation$22612.8%


Company Size

West Virginia Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in West Virginia by far. 57.5% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 45,410 small businesses in the state represent 96.1% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.4%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) West Virginia added 408 businesses in the last year, an increase of 0.9% as compared to the national average of 3.0%.

Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 375 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 0.8% as compared to the national average of 3.1%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. These mid-sized businesses added 35 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 2.0% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. These large businesses declined 2 businesses in the last year, which is a decrease of 3.6% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



West Virginia Employees by Business Size

West Virginia added 13,650 employees in the last year, an increase of 2.6% as compared to the national average of 5.2%. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 226 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 0.5% as compared to the national average of 4.2%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. Mid-sized businesses added 13,055 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 7.0% as compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. Large businesses added 369 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 0.6% as compared to the national average of 9.2%.

West Virginia Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

West Virginia workers in every size business are paid less than the national average. The smallest companies in West Virginia (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 19.5% less than the national average ($841 per week as compared to the national average of $1,005 per week). The largest companies in West Virginia (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 61.3% workers below the national average ($1,186 per week as compared to the national average of $1,913 per week).

Average weekly wages in small businesses added $122 per week in the last year, which is an increase of 4.1% as compared to the national average of 3.1%. Employees of mid-sized businesses added $114 in wages per week in the last year, which is an increase of 4.0% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Employees of large businesses added $23 of weekly wages in the last year, which is an increase of 0.9% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.

Top Industries for Business and Employment

The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of businesses:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Businesses
Industry# Businesses% Change
Private households2,83913.7%
Restaurants and other eating places2,818-0.9%
Offices of physicians1,386-0.9%
Residential building construction1,162-0.7%
Computer systems design and related services1,1194.5%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores955-0.5%
Offices of lawyers910-2.8%
Insurance agencies and brokerages802-1.7%
Wholesale trade agents and brokers757-10.5%
Accounting and bookkeeping services7510.4%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of employees:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Employees
Industry# Employees% Change
Restaurants and other eating places52,1341.3%
General medical and surgical hospitals39,6992.5%
Offices of physicians15,8751.0%
Coal mining13,5160.5%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters13,118-4.7%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores10,005-3.5%
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing9,3681.5%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores9,141-2.2%
Temporary help services8,279-2.8%
Services for the elderly and disabled7,9241.9%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by highest wages:

Table: Top 10 Industries by Weekly Wage
IndustryWkly Wages% Change
Investment banking and securities dealing$3,9440.0%
Securities brokerage$2,681-7.2%
Satellite telecommunications$2,56660.2%
Coal and other mineral merchant wholesalers$2,2449.6%
Footwear merchant wholesalers$2,15414.9%
Druggists' goods merchant wholesalers$2,1096.9%
Nonscheduled air transportation$1,98712.8%
Electric power generation$1,9447.6%
Other basic inorganic chemical manufacturing$1,9273.7%
Oil and gas pipeline construction$1,914-3.1%




Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.