West Virginia Employment Statistics

  • 51,112 employers
  • 693,374 employees
  • $887 average weekly wage
  • The average weekly wage is 19.4% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 5.3% below the national average

Types of Employers (Private Sector vs Government Agency)

As an employer in West Virginia, you are most likely to be running a private company rather than a government agency. 92.1% of employers run private companies in the state, 4.9% less than the national average of 97.0. The remaining 7.9% of employers are government agencies: 1.9% work in a federal agency, 2.1% work for the state and 3.9% work for local government. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employers by type.
80.6% of employees work for a private company. This is 4.6% below the national average of 85.2%. Local government agencies employ 10.0% of the workers in the state, state government agencies employ 6.0% of the workers and the federal government employs 3.4%. The percentage of employees working for a government agency (19.4%) is 4.6% higher than the national average. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employees by type of employer.
The average weekly wage in West Virginia is $887 per week, which is 19.4% greater than the national average of $1,101 per week. West Virginia workers that are employed by private businesses earn $880 per week, 20.0% lower than the national average for private company employees. Employees of federal government agencies in West Virginia earn $1,508 per week, a premium of 71.4% compared to what employees of private companies earn. The chart below illustrates the average weekly by type of employer.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Retail trade with 12.4% of the businesses in the state. Other services (10.8%) and Healthcare (10.5%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Businesses
Sector# Businesses% of Bus.
Retail trade6,36312.4%
Other services5,53310.8%
Healthcare5,36210.5%
Professional services4,8309.4%
Construction4,4338.7%
Accommodation and food services3,7137.3%
Waste services2,9905.8%
Wholesale trade2,7675.4%
Finance and insurance2,4884.9%
Transport and warehousing1,5603.1%
Real estate and rental1,5403.0%
Manufacturing1,2682.5%
Arts and entertainment1,0122.0%
Information7881.5%
Mining and oil extraction7671.5%
Company management4971.0%
Agriculture and forestry4330.8%
Educational services4010.8%
Utilities2360.5%
Unclassified1030.2%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 17.0% of the employees in the state. Retail trade (12.0%) and Accommodation and food services (9.6%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Employees
Sector# Employees% of Emp'
Healthcare118,18717.0%
Retail trade83,01512.0%
Accommodation and food services66,2699.6%
Manufacturing46,9496.8%
Construction40,1205.8%
Waste services35,1855.1%
Professional services26,8363.9%
Mining and oil extraction21,7073.1%
Wholesale trade20,4172.9%
Other services19,8592.9%
Transport and warehousing19,4452.8%
Finance and insurance17,9322.6%
Information8,2841.2%
Arts and entertainment7,8361.1%
Company management6,9201.0%
Real estate and rental6,5730.9%
Educational services6,2200.9%
Utilities5,3300.8%
Agriculture and forestry1,7760.3%
Unclassified1500.0%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Utilities paying $1,795per week compared with the state average of $880. Mining and oil extraction ($1,616) and Company management ($1,578) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Wages by Sector
SectorWkly Wagevs St Avg.
Utilities$1,795204.0%
Mining and oil extraction$1,616183.6%
Company management$1,578179.3%
Construction$1,390158.0%
Professional services$1,225139.2%
Wholesale trade$1,172133.2%
Manufacturing$1,163132.2%
Finance and insurance$1,096124.5%
Unclassified$1,013115.1%
Information$1,010114.8%
Transport and warehousing$925105.1%
Healthcare$898102.0%
Real estate and rental$82593.8%
Waste services$70680.2%
Educational services$69679.1%
Other services$60468.6%
Agriculture and forestry$58766.7%
Retail trade$52960.1%
Arts and entertainment$34639.3%
Accommodation and food services$34439.1%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In West Virginia. the industry with the most businesses is Restaurants and other eating places with 5.6% of the businesses in the state (with 2,848 employing 50,590 workers). Private households (5.0%) and Offices of physicians (2.7%) round out the top 3 industries. The Top 10 Industries in the state are:
Industry# BusinessesEmp/Biz
Restaurants and other eating places2,84817.8
Private households2,5531.0
Offices of physicians1,40311.2
Residential building construction1,1803.1
Computer systems design and related services1,0693.9
Gasoline stations with convenience stores9629.6
Offices of lawyers9365.4
Wholesale trade agents and brokers8373.6
Insurance agencies and brokerages8183.8
Accounting and bookkeeping services7465.2


Employees by Industry

The industry with the greatest number of employees in the state is Restaurants and other eating places with 7.3% of the businesses in the state. The industry employs 50,590 in 2,848 businesses, there are 17.8 employees on average in each of these businesses. General medical and surgical hospitals (5.6%) and Offices of physicians (2.3%) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Industries by # of Employees
Industry# EmpEmp/Biz
Restaurants and other eating places50,59017.8
General medical and surgical hospitals39,024750.5
Offices of physicians15,70111.2
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters13,75426.1
Coal mining13,39272.4
Supermarkets and other grocery stores10,37832.9
Oil and gas pipeline construction9,97786.8
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing9,26574.7
Gasoline stations with convenience stores9,2559.6
Temporary help services8,47113.8


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Investment banking and securities dealing, paying $3,228 compared with the state average of $880. Securities brokerage ($2,970) and Coal and other mineral merchant wholesalers ($2,508) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Wages by Industry
IndustryWkly Wage% of Avg
Investment banking and securities dealing$3,228366.8
Securities brokerage$2,970337.5
Coal and other mineral merchant wholesalers$2,508285.0
Oil and gas pipeline construction$2,242254.8
Druggists' goods merchant wholesalers$2,234253.9
Petrochemical manufacturing$2,175247.2
Credit bureaus$2,088237.3
Electric power generation$2,003227.6
Resin and synthetic rubber manufacturing$1,997226.9
All other professional and technical services$1,962223.0


Company Size

West Virginia Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in West Virginia by far. 57.2% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 44,957 small businesses in the state represent 96.1% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.6%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) The pie chart below illustrates the ratio of business sizes.

West Virginia Employees by Business Size

The largest companies in the state represent 86.4% of all employees, which is 52.1% lower than the national average of 138.4%. Interestingly, the smallest companies in the state employ a higher percentage than the largest companies, this is not typical. The solopreneur (those that employ fewer than 5) companies employ 91.7% of all workers, which is 0.2% higher than the national average of 91.5%. All small companies, those employing fewer than 50 people, represent 605.0% of the labor force in the state, 54.9% more than the national average of 550.0%.

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 24.0% less than the national average ($786 per week as compared to the national average of $975 per week). The largest companies in West Virginia (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 61.5% workers below the national average ($1,165 per week as compared to the national average of $1,882 per week).



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.