West Virginia Small Business Statistics

3 Min Read
0 Reviews
Last updated February 17, 2023
Written by Dmytro Kondratiev
Editor, lawyer
Disclosure: We earn a commission from some partner links. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

West Virginia is known for its coal mines. The state produces about 12% of the nation's coal, second only to Wyoming. But the WV's over-reliance on the mining industry is not benefitting it.

This industry is going through tough times right now. Lately, the price of coal has been steadily declining. This has led to mine shutdown and job losses.

Overall, West Virginia's GDP suffered a drop in 2012. It collapsed by nearly 3.5 percent. Since then, there has been little and erratic growth. Against this backdrop, unemployment is increasing, and the demand for hiring highly skilled workers is declining.

Despite this seemingly bleak picture, several thousand new entities open here each year. The reason is the low cost of living. It helps start businesses here, attracting less capital than in many other states.

Also, employees, who have been laid off in the workplace, began launching new businesses to improve their situations. They are helping the state's economy stay afloat. So, don't jump to conclusions and take a look at West Virginia's SMEs statistics first!

West Virginia Small Business Stats: Key Facts

  • There are more than 110,000 small companies registered in West Virginia;
  • The state government counts all firms with 1 to 500 employees as small businesses;
  • The net decline of SMEs in the state exceeds 400 per year. For example, between 2019 and 2020, entrepreneurs started 3,405 companies and dissolved 3,875 entities. The net reduction over that period was 470 businesses;
  • Small firms make up nearly 99% of all businesses in the state;
  • 3.5% of all SME owners in West Virginia are self-employed minorities;
  • Women own 43% of all businesses in the state while men own 57% of firms;
  • Also, in West Virginia, there are 5,934 entities that are formed by both men and women;
  • Hispanics and racial minorities make up 5.5% of all entrepreneurs in the state;
  • An LLC is one of the most popular business structures for SME owners;
  • To start an LLC in West Virginia, you will need to file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State and enclose a check for the $100 registration fee;
  • State representatives require all small business owners to appoint a registered agent for operations in the area. These tasks can be performed by any adult employee of your company or by a firm providing such services;
  • The state mandates the filing of an annual report by all firm owners;
  • Industries with the largest number of companies registered:
Industry Total Number of Companies 
Other Services (except Public Administration)15,737
Retail Trade13,512
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services12,213
  • The smallest number of companies are registered in such industries:
IndustryTotal Number of Companies
Management of Companies and Enterprises109
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting1,538
  • In West Virginia, there is a 6.00% state sales tax rate;
  • Companies may also be taxed at 1% locally.

West Virginia Small Business Stats: Employees

  • The unemployment rate in West Virginia is steadily declining. In 2021, the rate was 4.30% compared to 2022's rate of 4.00%;
  • There are over 270,000 small business employees in the state;
  • More than 49% of all the workforce is employed by small firms;
  • On average, there are at least 10,000 to 12,000 job losses each year. For example, between 2019 and 2020, entrepreneurs cut 58,573 positions while adding only 46,500 new ones. The net reduction over that period was 12,073 vacancies;
  • The largest number of small business employees are involved in these industries:
IndustryTotal Number of Employees
Health care and social assistance57,172
Accommodation and food services40,384
Retail trade30,335
  • Among the small business workforce, women make up 47.2%, while men make up 52.8%;
  • Hispanics and racial minorities represent 6.6% of the state's workforce.


  1. https://cdn.advocacy.sba.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/30143916/Small-Business-Economic-Profile-WV.pdf
  2. https://usa.ipums.org/usa/acs.shtml
  3. https://www.bls.gov/bdm/