West Virginia Q4, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 51,183 employers, down 0.3% from 51,332
  • 693,028 employees, down 2.1% from 677,982
  • The average weekly wage is 23.7% 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 declined by 149, which is a decrease of 0.3%. The number of employees in West Virginia declined by 15,046, a decline of 2.1%. During this same period, the average weekly declined by $13, a decline of 1.4%.

The number of private employers decreased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses declined by 185 or 0.4%. Growth in private businesses in West Virginia grew slower than the national average of 2.5%. The number of employees in these businesses decreased since last years' Q1, declining by 16,368 or 2.9%. The growth in employees of private businesses in West Virginia was slower than the national average of 1.2%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses decreased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage declined by $24 or 2.6%. 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 1.9%. Other services (11.5%), which increased by 4.0% and Healthcare (10.4%), which decreased by 0.6%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Other services2264.0%
Educational services153.6%
Information172.1%
Professional services751.5%
Utilities31.3%
Waste services90.3%
Company management10.2%
Real estate and rental-8-0.5%
Healthcare-33-0.6%
Manufacturing-9-0.7%
Wholesale trade-25-0.9%
Accommodation and food services-54-1.5%
Finance and insurance-41-1.6%
Retail trade-117-1.9%
Construction-116-2.6%
Arts and entertainment-28-2.8%
Agriculture and forestry-12-2.8%
Mining and oil extraction-25-3.3%
Transport and warehousing-56-3.5%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 17.3% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 0.9% in the last year. Retail trade (11.8%), decreased by 2.6% and Accommodation and food services (9.6%), increased by 0.2%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Arts and entertainment2864.0%
Agriculture and forestry372.1%
Other services3211.6%
Company management1061.5%
Healthcare1,0620.9%
Real estate and rental390.6%
Finance and insurance310.2%
Accommodation and food services1280.2%
Manufacturing-621-1.3%
Transport and warehousing-336-1.5%
Waste services-576-1.6%
Educational services-133-2.0%
Information-174-2.1%
Professional services-668-2.5%
Utilities-134-2.5%
Wholesale trade-530-2.6%
Retail trade-2,205-2.6%
Mining and oil extraction-1,430-6.6%
Construction-11,586-25.9%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Utilities paying $1,710per week compared with the state average of $896. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $22 or 1.3%. Company management ($1,702), rose by $143 or 9.2% and Mining and oil extraction ($1,594) declined by $21 or 1.3% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Company management$1439.2%
Agriculture and forestry$416.4%
Wholesale trade$584.8%
Healthcare$374.1%
Educational services$274.1%
Finance and insurance$413.6%
Accommodation and food services$102.8%
Arts and entertainment$71.9%
Retail trade$91.6%
Utilities$221.3%
Other services$40.6%
Manufacturing$40.3%
Waste services$-1-0.1%
Information$-4-0.4%
Mining and oil extraction$-21-1.3%
Transport and warehousing$-22-2.5%
Real estate and rental$-34-3.7%
Professional services$-75-5.4%
Construction$-331-21.0%


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 5.8% of the businesses in the state (with 2,954 employing 3,076 workers). The Private households industry had 266 more businesses, an increase of 9.9% in the last year. Restaurants and other eating places (5.5% of businesses) had 48 fewer businesses, a decline of 1.7% and Offices of physicians (2.6% of businesses) had 45 fewer businesses, a decline of 3.2% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Management training8133.3%
Metal tank heavy gauge manufacturing150.0%
Convention and trade show organizers342.9%
Breweries642.9%
Landscape architectural services240.0%
Other electronic parts merchant wholesalers735.0%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers1034.5%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Private households2669.9%
Management consulting services437.5%
Computer systems design and related services434.0%
Temporary help services365.9%
Pharmacies and drug stores347.1%
All other ambulatory health care services1827.7%
All other miscellaneous store retailers167.3%


Employees by Industry

Restaurants and other eating places (5.5% of employees) had 48 fewer employees, a decline of 1.7% and Offices of physicians (2.6% ofemployees) had 45 fewer employees, a decline of 3.2% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Financial transaction processing and clearing95140.5%
Freight transportation arrangement12896.9%
Breweries6465.4%
Paint and supplies merchant wholesalers851.1%
Crude petroleum extraction6845.0%
Translation and interpretation services1733.4%
Plastics bottle manufacturing11032.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Offices of physicians4172.7%
Services for the elderly and disabled3674.8%
Private households36613.5%
Computer systems design and related services2175.2%
Food service contractors18612.4%
Other gambling industries1726.5%
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing1621.7%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Investment banking and securities dealing, paying $3,099 compared with the state average of $896. 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 ($3,098) and Coal and other mineral merchant wholesalers ($3,058) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Securities brokerage ($3,098 per week) were paid $91 more per week, an increase of 3.0% and Coal and other mineral merchant wholesalers ($3,058 per week) were paid $371 more per week, an increase of 13.8% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Political organizations$47887.1%
Public relations agencies$77772.8%
Hunting and trapping$33053.0%
New motor vehicle parts merchant wholesalers$38044.5%
Dairy cattle and milk production$23439.8%
Architectural services$53237.7%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers$50535.2%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Public relations agencies$77772.8%
Architectural services$53237.7%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers$50535.2%
Political organizations$47887.1%
New motor vehicle parts merchant wholesalers$38044.5%
Coal and other mineral merchant wholesalers$37113.8%
Druggists' goods merchant wholesalers$35516.1%


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 91.2%. (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 households2,9549.9%
Restaurants and other eating places2,804-1.7%
Offices of physicians1,350-3.2%
Residential building construction1,139-4.4%
Computer systems design and related services1,1244.0%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores9711.4%
Offices of lawyers903-2.9%
Insurance agencies and brokerages802-2.8%
Accounting and bookkeeping services7511.3%
Wholesale trade agents and brokers728-10.1%


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 places50,7800.0%
General medical and surgical hospitals39,417-0.3%
Offices of physicians16,0452.7%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters13,588-3.0%
Coal mining12,820-4.7%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores9,978-3.5%
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing9,4621.7%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores9,009-1.9%
Temporary help services8,221-5.0%
Services for the elderly and disabled8,0784.8%


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$3,0990.0%
Securities brokerage$3,0983.0%
Coal and other mineral merchant wholesalers$3,05813.8%
Satellite telecommunications$2,57415.7%
Druggists' goods merchant wholesalers$2,56316.1%
Nonscheduled air transportation$2,30513.5%
Oil and gas pipeline construction$2,016-19.1%
Other basic inorganic chemical manufacturing$1,9467.0%
Architectural services$1,94437.7%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers$1,94135.2%




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.