West Virginia is the second largest coal producer in the US behind Wyoming. In 2017, the Mountain state’s share of US coal production was around 12%. However, due to the gradual decline in coal prices over the past decade, the industry has been adversely affected by worker layoffs and mine closures as evident with the 2018 closure of the Pinnacle Mine in Wyoming County that saw over 400 workers lose their jobs.
The state’s economy has also been going through a rough spell. In 2012, West Virginia's state GDP (Gross Domestic Product) shrank by 3.4 percent and, in the following few years, experienced just modest growth. Unemployment is rising, the demand for labor is down and the state’s over-reliance on the mining industry is not helping the situation.
However, despite the gloomy outlook, the number of small businesses (SMBs) has increased as employees who were laid off have looked towards creating a new livelihood for themselves and, in turn, helped spur on the state's economy. Small businesses currently employ close to half of the entire state labor force.
Here are a few interesting statistics on the state of small businesses in West Virginia:
- There are 113,779 small businesses in West Virginia, a whopping 98.9% of all businesses in the state.
- The cost of living in West Virginia is 86% of the national average and the cost of housing is particularly low. This is good news for entrepreneurs who are moving into the state from a higher income area as their dollar will go farther and will help them get their startup off the ground with less capital required.
- There are 3,938 self-employed minorities in West Virginia who represent 3.5% of all small business owners in the state.
- Small businesses pay the checks for 269,789 employees who account for 49.1% of the entire state’s labor force.
- To form a corporation in the state, you need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. The filing fee is $50.
- Self-employed individuals at their own incorporated businesses have a median income of $40,000. Those without incorporated businesses have a median income of $25,600.
- State law requires that every new business designates a West Virginia registered agent that will be available during regular business hours at a physical address within the state.
- There are 815 small business exporters in West Virginia who are responsible for 24.1% of the state’s $7.3 billion worth of export revenue.
- In order to form an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in the state, you need to file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State’s office. The filing fee is $100.
- The top three industries with the highest number of small business employees include:
- Health Care and Social Assistance – 57,172.
- Accommodation and Food Services – 40,384.
- Retail Trade – 30,335.
- Private-sector employment decreased 16.5% during the 12-month period ending in April 2020.
- In West Virginia, the corporate tax currently is computed at a flat rate of 6.5% of taxable income.
- The state requires you to file an annual report for your LLC. The annual report is due each year by June 30 and can be filed online through the Business4WV website.
- The number of proprietors in West Virginia increased in 2018 by 1.8% relative to the previous year.
- The top five industries with the largest share of small businesses are:
- Other Services (except Public Administration) – 18,913.
- Retail Trade – 13,873.
- Construction – 12,004.
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services – 11,889.
- Health Care and Social Assistance – 9,973.