West Virginia Q1, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 51,279 employers, up 0.8% from 50,878
  • 684,406 employees, up 0.6% from 680,504
  • $896 average weekly wage, up 3.2% from $868
  • The average weekly wage is 24.3% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 5.3% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 401, which is an increase of 0.8%. The number of employees in West Virginia increased by 3,902, an increase of 0.6%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $28, an increase of 3.2%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 408 or 0.9%. Growth in private businesses in West Virginia grew slower than the national average of 3.0%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 4,550 or 0.8%. The growth in employees of private businesses in West Virginia was slower than the national average of 1.7%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $31 or 3.6%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in West Virginia grew faster than the national average of 3.0%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Retail trade with 12.2% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector declined by 3.5%. Other services (11.2%), which increased by 5.9% and Healthcare (10.5%), which increased by 0.4%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Other services3205.9%
Information465.9%
Educational services194.8%
Company management214.3%
Real estate and rental392.6%
Transport and warehousing372.4%
Professional services711.5%
Accommodation and food services511.4%
Waste services260.9%
Utilities20.9%
Finance and insurance190.8%
Wholesale trade100.4%
Healthcare210.4%
Construction120.3%
Arts and entertainment-6-0.6%
Agriculture and forestry-3-0.7%
Manufacturing-14-1.1%
Mining and oil extraction-15-2.0%
Retail trade-225-3.5%


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 0.4% in the last year. Retail trade (11.7%), decreased by 3.1% and Accommodation and food services (9.5%), increased by 0.4%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Construction2,7299.1%
Mining and oil extraction9774.6%
Arts and entertainment2924.2%
Educational services2403.9%
Transport and warehousing5893.3%
Wholesale trade4702.3%
Manufacturing5311.1%
Professional services2581.0%
Waste services3311.0%
Company management570.9%
Other services1680.9%
Healthcare4700.4%
Accommodation and food services2380.4%
Utilities170.3%
Finance and insurance260.1%
Real estate and rental-19-0.3%
Agriculture and forestry-11-0.7%
Retail trade-2,564-3.1%
Information-270-3.2%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Utilities paying $2,331per week compared with the state average of $893. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $160 or 7.4%. Company management ($1,777), rose by $25 or 1.4% and Mining and oil extraction ($1,702) increased by $3 or 0.2% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Educational services$709.8%
Construction$979.1%
Agriculture and forestry$437.5%
Utilities$1607.4%
Information$737.4%
Waste services$426.2%
Transport and warehousing$454.8%
Finance and insurance$494.3%
Healthcare$333.7%
Wholesale trade$443.6%
Retail trade$173.3%
Real estate and rental$263.3%
Other services$101.7%
Accommodation and food services$51.5%
Company management$251.4%
Mining and oil extraction$30.2%
Professional services$20.2%
Arts and entertainment$-4-1.2%
Manufacturing$-16-1.3%


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 2,854 employing 49,827 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 37 more businesses, an increase of 1.3% in the last year. Private households (5.4% of businesses) added 323 businesses, an increase of 13.2% and Offices of physicians (2.7% of businesses) had 16 fewer businesses, a decline of 1.1% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Footwear merchant wholesalers3100.0%
Management training480.0%
All other financial investment activities1263.2%
Breweries654.5%
Other professional equip. merchant wholesaler550.0%
Facilities support services750.0%
Fish and seafood markets250.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Private households32313.2%
Computer systems design and related services403.8%
Restaurants and other eating places371.3%
All other professional and technical services2843.1%
Offices of specialty therapists279.9%
Management consulting services234.2%
Management of companies and enterprises214.3%


Employees by Industry

Private households (5.4% of employees) added 323 employees, an increase of 13.2% and Offices of physicians (2.7% ofemployees) had 16 fewer employees, a decline of 1.1% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Management training48651.0%
Trusts estates and agency accounts17183.0%
Other support activities for road transport.82160.2%
Educational support services373110.3%
Freight transportation arrangement85104.9%
All other financial investment activities4393.6%
Service estab. equip. merchant wholesalers20578.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
General medical and surgical hospitals1,1162.9%
Oil and gas pipeline construction1,10429.2%
Industrial building construction80671.1%
Restaurants and other eating places5451.1%
Support activities for mining53510.7%
Coal mining3772.8%
Educational support services373110.3%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

Private households ($5) and Offices of physicians ($3) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Private households ($5 per week) were paid $323 more per week, an increase of 13.2% and Offices of physicians ($3 per week) were paid $16 less per week, a decline of 1.1% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Management training$625117.7%
Lumber and wood merchant wholesalers$49273.8%
Musical groups and artists$15560.8%
Footwear merchant wholesalers$31556.1%
Translation and interpretation services$26549.0%
Other ground passenger transportation$13041.8%
Coal and other mineral merchant wholesalers$1,03840.6%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Coal and other mineral merchant wholesalers$1,03840.6%
Management training$625117.7%
Satellite telecommunications$54928.9%
Lumber and wood merchant wholesalers$49273.8%
Commodity contracts brokerage$39931.3%
Nonscheduled air transportation$38020.8%
Footwear merchant wholesalers$31556.1%


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 92.9%. (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%.



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.