MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A new report from Hire a Helper takes a look at cities with the most veteran-owned businesses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 8.4 million veterans participated in the civilian workforce in October 2021, and the unemployment rate for veterans (4.4%) was lower than the rate for non-veterans (5.3%) last year.

The report found that veterans were more likely to choose oil and gas, finance, professional services, and manufacturing industries. Veterans are least likely to own businesses in the arts, entertainment, education, accommodation, and food services sectors.

The study found that 5.4% of all businesses in West Virginia are owned by veterans, making up a total of 1,274 businesses employing 11,148 workers. This puts West Virginia at the 36th spot in the list of states with the largest share of businesses that are veteran-owned, although they are the 12th state with the most veteran population share.

StateShare of businesses that are veteran-ownedTotal businesses that are veteran-ownedVeteran population share
1New Hampshire9.3%2,7538.5%
2Virginia8.8%12,82110.3%
3Georgia8.1%14,2857.9%
4Alaska8.1%1,29812.1%
5Tennessee7.7%7,1088.2%
6Oklahoma7.7%5,2729.0%
7Alabama7.2%4,9338.6%
8Rhode Island7.1%1,6626.1%
9South Dakota7.0%1,5208.5%
10North Carolina6.9%11,7288.2%

However, Charleston, West Virginia, made the top 50 list in small metros with the largest share of businesses that are veteran-owned. Charleston ranks at 47 with 117 veteran-owned businesses employing 1,660 people.

MetroShare of businesses that are veteran-ownedTotal businesses that are veteran-ownedVeteran population share
41Green Bay, WI4.2%2727.3%
42Missoula, MT4.0%1748.1%
43Decatur, AL3.9%927.3%
44Tyler, TX3.8%1626.6%
45Waco, TX3.5%1627.2%
46Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL3.5%988.2%
47Charleston, WV3.1%1177.7%
48College Station-Bryan, TX2.9%1085.1%
49Winchester, VA-WV2.9%799.5%
50Racine, WI1.7%587.6%

The Huntington area ranks 20th in the mid-sized metros list. The Washington DC area ranks 4th and Pittsburgh ranks 27 in the large metros list. More information on the study can be found here.