Structural business statistics at regional level


Data extracted in March 2018.

Planned article update: September 2019.

Highlights

Non-financial services accounted for 95.5 % of the non-financial business economy workforce in Inner London - West.

Almost one third (32.4 %) of the non-financial business economy workforce in Nord - Pas-de-Calais (France) was employed in the retail trade sector.

Source: Eurostat


Presented according to the activity classification NACE, the first half of this article is based on a set of structural business statistics (SBS) which may be used to analyse patterns of specialisation and concentration within the regional business economies of the European Union (EU). Two special focuses are provided with detailed information for the retail trade sector and the manufacture of motor vehicles. The second half provides a selection of regional business demography statistics, presenting enterprise birth and death rates, as well as information related to high-growth enterprises.

Full article

SBS cover industry (NACE Sections B to E), construction (NACE Section F) and non-financial services (NACE Sections G to J and L to N and Division 95), collectively referred to as the non-financial business economy, defined here as NACE Sections B to J and L to N and NACE Division 95. This data set can be analysed at a very detailed sectoral level (several hundred economic activities), by enterprise size class and, as here, by region. Regional SBS provide harmonised statistics for the number of local units and persons employed, as well as the monetary value of wages and salaries.

According to estimates made using SBS, there were 23.5 million enterprises active in the EU-28’s non-financial business economy in 2015. Together, they generated EUR 7 033 billion of gross value added and employed some 137.4 million persons. On the basis of an analysis by value added, among NACE sections, the largest activity in the EU-28 was manufacturing (EUR 1 900 billion or 27.0 % of the non-financial business economy total), whereas distributive trades was the largest activity on the basis of an analysis by persons employed (33.0 million persons or 24.0 % of the non-financial business economy total).

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are considered vital to the success of the EU-28 economy, accounting for almost all of its businesses and around two thirds of all jobs in the non-financial business economy. One of the 11 thematic objectives for the EU’s cohesion policy during the period 2014-2020 is to improve the competitiveness of SMEs, while providing further investment for SMEs under thematic objectives. Cohesion policy investments are designed to help SMEs: access finance; benefit from targeted business support; improve their access to global markets and international value chains; exploit new sources of growth such as the green economy, sustainable tourism, the ‘silver economy’ or cultural/creative industries; invest in human capital; forge links with research centres and universities to promote innovation.

Patterns of business specialisation and concentration

Non-financial services

The services sector is the largest component of the EU-28 economy, accounting for close to 74 % of total gross value added in 2015 (according to national accounts). Furthermore, the performance of the EU’s manufacturing sector is increasingly linked to the competitiveness of services, insofar as manufactured goods increasingly contain a range of services inputs, from research and development or design, through computer services, to marketing. In January 2017, the European Commission made proposals for a package of new measures designed to make it easier for EU enterprises and business professionals to provide services to potential customers within the single market. It is hoped that this stimulus will provide a boost to growth within the services sector, to the benefit of consumers, job seekers and enterprises.

Non-financial services accounted for 67.5 % of the total number of persons employed in the EU-28 non-financial business economy in 2015; note that financial services (NACE Section K) are excluded from this standard set of structural business statistics because of their specific nature and the limited availability of most types of business statistics in this area.

More than 19 out of every 20 people in the workforce of Inner London - West was employed in non-financial services

The relative contribution of non-financial services to the total number of persons employed in the non-financial business economy ranged from a low of 39.0 % in Border, Midland and Western (Ireland) up to 95.5 % in the capital city region of Inner London - West (the United Kingdom). Within most other multi-regional EU Member States, the employment share of non-financial services also reached a peak in the capital city regions (as shown in Figure 1), the only exceptions being Greece (where the highest share was in Ionia Nisia), Spain (Canarias), Portugal (Algarve) and Finland (Åland) — the first three of these regions are all popular tourist destinations, while the economy on the Finnish archipelago of Åland is dominated by transport services. Note that the service orientation of several capital city regions would be even higher if financial services were included, given that London and Paris are among the world’s leading financial centres.
Figure 1: Employment in the non-financial services economy, by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(% share of employment in the non-financial business economy)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)

The analysis is extended in Figure 2 to show, for each NACE division in the non-financial services economy, the NUTS level 2 region which was most specialised in that activity; the information is based on regional shares for each activity in the non-financial business economy workforce. There are considerable differences between regions, reflecting among others: access to skilled employees (for example, for scientific research and development); adequate provision of infrastructure (for example, transport or telecommunications); climatic and geographic conditions (particularly relevant in relation to tourism activities); proximity or access to markets; and legislative constraints. All of these may impact upon the considerable disparities that exist between EU regions as regards the importance of different activities within their respective business economies.

Some activities appear across all regions of the EU: this is the case for example for retail trade and wholesale trade. In 2015, these were the two largest service sectors in the EU-28 economy, together accounting for more than one fifth (21.2 %) of the non-financial business economy workforce. The northern French region of Nord - Pas-de-Calais had the highest employment share within the retail trade sector (32.4 %), which may reflect, at least to some degree, its location that provides ease of access to cross-border shoppers from Belgium or the United Kingdom. The highest employment share for wholesale trade was recorded in the south-eastern Spanish Región de Murcia (15.7 %), which may reflect this region being a major centre for agricultural production (particularly fruit and vegetables) which are subsequently processed and graded before being transported to supermarkets across the EU.

Capital city regions were often relatively specialised in providing information, communication and business-oriented services

It was common to find that capital city regions were the most specialised regions for information, communication and business-oriented services, which may be linked, at least in part, to the high number of potential clients for such services. In 2015, Inner London - West was the most specialised region in the EU for: legal and accounting activities; activities of head offices and management consultancy activities; advertising and market research; or publishing activities. The other capital city region in the United Kingdom, Inner London - East recorded the largest employment share for information service activities and for film, video, TV production, sound recording and music publishing services, while the Czech capital city region of Praha was the most specialised region in the EU for other professional, scientific and technical activities and the Portuguese capital city region of Área Metropolitana de Lisboa was the most specialised for office administrative support and other business service activities.

For transport and tourism-related activities, a relatively small number of regions tend to be highly specialised, resulting in a particularly wide range between the employment shares of those regions with the highest and lowest ratios. The importance of water transport services as an employer was naturally relatively high in most coastal regions and islands, while air transport services provided a high share of employment in several regions close to major cities or in island regions (especially those focused on tourism). The island region of Åland (Finland) is a centre for ferry services between Sweden and Finland and other Baltic Sea traffic and it recorded the highest employment share for water transport services, while Outer London - West and North West was the most specialised region for air transport services; London Heathrow airport is located in this region.

In regions traditionally associated with tourism, it was commonplace to find that a relatively high share of the non-financial business economy workforce was employed within accommodation services or food and beverage service activities. The Greek region of Notio Aigaio (which includes, among others, the islands of Kos, Mykonos and Rhodes) had the highest share of its non-financial business economy workforce employed within accommodation services, while another Greek region, Ionia Nisia (which includes the islands of Corfu and Zante), had the highest employment share for food and beverage service activities.
Figure 2: Regional specialisation within the non-financial services economy, by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(% share of regional non-financial business economy employment)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2) and (sbs_na_sca_r2)

Focus on retail trade

As noted above, the retail trade sector was the largest employer within the EU-28’s non-financial services economy in 2015. Retail trade has experienced considerable changes during several decades: a change in shopping preferences away from specialist towards more generalist retailers; the growth of supermarket chains and out-of-town shopping locations; or the more recent introduction of discounters and e-commerce. That said, the vast majority of retailers in the EU remain small, often family-run, businesses: many of these perform an important social function, strengthening local communities and providing proximity services.

Map 1 shows the annual change in the total number of persons employed across NUTS level 2 regions within the retail trade sector. In 2015, the EU-28 retail trade workforce grew by 0.8 % compared with the previous year. Some of the highest employment growth rates were recorded in Germany, Spain and southern regions of Ireland and the United Kingdom, while the retail trade workforce contracted at a relatively rapid pace in most Greek and French regions. These changes may be linked to overall economic fortunes, as consumers may be expected to spend more when their regional economy is expanding and when they feel relatively confident about future economic developments, thereby driving demand higher. Legislative changes may also have an impact on the number of persons employed by the retail trade sector: for example, changes to Sunday trading or opening hours impact on the labour market; note these jobs with atypical working hours can be of particular interest to young people who wish to supplement their income whilst continuing their (full or part-time) education.

There were 62 NUTS level 2 regions where the number of persons employed in the retail trade sector rose by at least 4.0 % in 2015. More than half of these (35 different regions) were located in Germany, with the four highest growth rates among German regions recorded in the capital city region of Berlin (9.0 %), the metropolitan region of Köln (8.2 %), the western region of Rheinhessen-Pfalz which borders onto France, and the northern region of Weser-Ems which borders onto the Netherlands (both 7.9 %). Within Ireland and the United Kingdom, the most rapid regional growth rates for the number of persons employed in the retail trade sector were recorded in capital city regions, namely, Southern and Eastern and Inner London - East, while in Spain, excluding the atypical case of Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla, the highest growth rate was recorded for Canarias.
Map 1: Annual growth rate of employment in retail trade
(except of motor vehicles and motorcycles), by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(%)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2) and (sbs_na_sca_r2)

Industrial activities

Industry provides goods for domestic consumption and for export; it has traditionally been considered a cornerstone of economic prosperity in the EU. However, the industrial economy has experienced various transformations in recent years, driven among others, by outsourcing, globalisation, changes to business paradigms, the growing importance of digital technologies, or concerns linked to sustainable production and the environment. Industrial activities generated close to one fifth of value added in the EU-28 economy (19.4 % in 2015).

In September 2017, the European Commission outlined a comprehensive renewal of its industrial policy strategy bringing together existing and new cross-cutting and sector-specific initiatives, with the goal of making European industry a world leader in innovation, digitisation and decarbonisation. Investing in a smart, innovative and sustainable industry — A renewed EU industrial policy strategy (COM(2017) 479 final) includes, among others: a package to reinforce industrial cyber-security; a proposal for new rules on the free flow of non-personal business data, helping to create a common European data space; initiatives to modernise the EU’s policy framework for intellectual property rights; an initiative to improve the functioning of public procurement in the EU; a strategy to help direct private capital flows towards more sustainable investments; and a new framework for the screening foreign direct investment.

Border, Midland and Western (in Ireland) was the only region in the EU where more than half of the non-financial business economy workforce was employed in the industrial economy

Figure 3 presents a similar analysis to that in Figure 1, focusing on the relative contribution of industrial activities to the non-financial business economy workforce. In 2015, this ratio ranged across the EU-28 from a low of just 1.8 % in the capital city region of Inner London - West (the United Kingdom) up to a peak of 58.1 % in Border, Midland and Western (Ireland). The high level of employment in the industrial economy of this Irish region may be attributed, at least in part, to a relatively large food manufacturing activity that exists alongside a strong presence of multinational enterprises, with a range of high-technology manufacturing activities having been established by foreign investors, for example, the medical devices industry located around Galway. Aside from this Irish region, it is interesting to note that the regions with the highest industrial employment shares — all within the range of 40-50 % — were principally located in the eastern EU Member States, with regional shares peaking in Severovýchod (the Czech Republic), Vest (Romania), Vzhodna Slovenija (Slovenia), Severen tsentralen (Bulgaria), Közép-Dunántúl (Hungary), Podkarpackie (Poland) and Západné Slovensko (Slovakia). This reflects an eastward shift of Europe’s industrial activity, which may reflect, at least to some degree, relatively low labour costs, FDI inflows and (in some cases) natural resource endowments such as coal or wood. Along with Ireland, Germany was the only other western EU Member State to report the presence of a region with more than 40 % of its non-financial business economy workforce employed in the industrial economy — Tübingen in south-western Germany.
Figure 3: Employment in the industrial economy, by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(% share of employment in the non-financial business economy)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)

The analysis presented in Figure 4 identifies patterns of regional specialisation within the manufacturing sector, showing the range between the highest and lowest regional employment shares (relative to total employment for the non-financial business economy); the name of the region with the highest share is also indicated. Furthermore, Figure 4 shows the average employment share across the EU-28 for each of the 24 manufacturing subsectors, as shown by the vertical line within each of the bars. In 2015, the five manufacturing subsectors with the biggest workforces in the EU-28 included: the manufacture of food products (NACE Division 10; 3.0 % of the non-financial business economy workforce), the manufacture of fabricated metal products (NACE Division 25; 2.7 %), the manufacture of machinery and equipment (NACE Division 28; 2.1 %), the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers (NACE Division 29; 1.8 %) and the manufacture of rubber and plastic products (NACE Division 22; 1.2 %); none of the remaining manufacturing subsectors accounted for more than 1.0 % of the non-financial business economy workforce.

A wide variety of factors explain the relative concentration of specific manufacturing subsectors and relative specialisations of individual regions. These include, among others, scale economies, the relative cost and skills of a labour force, or other factor endowments (such as natural resources). Some of the most concentrated manufacturing subsectors in the EU include the manufacture of tobacco products (NACE Division 12), coke and refined petroleum products (NACE Division 19), or other transport equipment (NACE Division 30; including, among others, the manufacture of aircraft, trains or ships).

The manufacture of motor vehicles accounted for approximately 1 out of every 7 persons working in the non-financial business economy of the Romanian region of Vest

Looking in more detail, manufacturing activities involving the primary processing stages of agricultural, fishing or forestry products tended to be concentrated in areas close to the source of their raw materials. In 2015, the regions most specialised in food manufacturing were Border, Midland and Western (Ireland) and Bretagne (France), both of which had a high level of production for dairy products, while the highest employment share for the manufacturing of beverages (NACE Division 11) was in Champagne-Ardenne (France). Regions that are specialised in the manufacture of textiles (NACE Division 13) are often located close to an abundant supply of water, with the highest employment share recorded in Norte (Portugal). Heavily forested Baltic and Nordic regions were among the most specialised for the manufacture of wood and wood products (NACE Division 16), where Estonia (a single region at this level of detail) recorded the highest employment share, while the highest share for the related activity of manufacturing paper and paper products (NACE Division 17) was in Norra Mellansverige (central Sweden).

By contrast, several German and Belgian regions were relatively specialised in the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals in 2015, as Rheinhessen-Pfalz was the most specialised region for chemicals manufacturing (NACE Division 20) and the Prov. Brabant Wallon for pharmaceutical products and preparations (NACE Division 21). The highest regional specialisation for the manufacture of rubber and plastics (NACE Division 22) was in Auvergne (France), with activity centred on Clermont-Ferrand, while another French region, Franche-Comté, recorded the highest employment share for the manufacture of fabricated metal products (NACE Division 25). Several southern regions of Germany were prominent at the top of the rankings for the most specialised regions concerning electrical and mechanical engineering, with the highest employment share for the manufacture of electrical equipment (NACE Division 27) in Oberpfalz and the highest employment share for the manufacture of machinery and equipment in Tübingen.

The manufacture of transport equipment is characterised by clusters of economic activity and highly-integrated production chains. In 2015, the westernmost Romanian region of Vest had the highest degree of specialisation for the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers, while the most specialised region for the manufacture of other transport equipment (NACE Division 30) was Midi-Pyrénées (south-west France), where there is a large cluster of enterprises related to aerospace.

It is interesting to note that in Vest, some 14.3 % of the non-financial business economy workforce was employed manufacturing motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers in 2015; this was the highest share across any of the regions and activities shown in Figure 4. Indeed, there were only four other manufacturing subsectors where the highest regional employment share (relative to the total non-financial business economy workforce) was in double-digits. This was the case for food manufacturing in Border, Midland and Western (13.5 %), for the manufacture of rubber and plastic products in Auvergne (12.7 %), for the manufacture of machinery and equipment in Tübingen (11.2 %) and for the manufacture of wearing apparel (NACE Division 14) in the Bulgarian region of Severozapaden (10.7 %).
Figure 4: Regional specialisation within the manufacturing economy, by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(% share of regional non-financial business economy employment)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2) and (sbs_na_sca_r2)

Focus on the manufacture of motor vehicles

Motor vehicles manufacturing is often cited as being crucial for the EU’s prosperity, providing a large number of jobs (2.4 million directly in 2015) and high levels of research and development (R & D) expenditure. Furthermore, this subsector has a considerable ‘multiplier effect’ given its impact on both upstream (for example, steel and textiles) and downstream activities (for example, motor trades and repair). The European Commission aims to preserve the EU’s leadership in motor vehicles manufacturing through increasing funds that are available for R & D, with initiatives to encourage, among others, safety, green vehicles and the decarbonisation of engines, or information technology infrastructure.

In 2015, the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers accounted for 8.1 % of the total number of persons employed within the EU-28’s manufacturing sector. Map 2 shows there were 24 NUTS level 2 regions in the EU where the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and non-trailers accounted for at least 16.0 % of the manufacturing sector’s workforce in 2015. The highest shares were recorded in Bratislavský kraj (the capital city region of Slovakia), Basilicata (in southern Italy) and Vest (Romania), where more than one third of the total manufacturing workforce were employed producing motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers. The next highest employment shares were recorded in Nyugat-Dunántúl (western Hungary) and Strední Cechy (which surrounds the Czech capital city), followed by three southern regions in Germany — Stuttgart, Oberbayern and Niederbayern — as well as the western Swedish region of Västsverige; the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers accounted for 25-30 % of total manufacturing employment in each of these regions.
Map 2: Employment in the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers, by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(% share of total employment in the manufacturing sector)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2) and (sbs_na_sca_r2)

Enterprise demography

Business demography statistics describe the characteristics of enterprises within the business population. They cover, among others, the birth of new enterprises, the growth and survival of existing enterprises (with particular interest centred on their employment impact), and enterprise deaths. These indicators can provide an important insight into business dynamics, as new enterprises/fast-growing enterprises tend to be innovators that achieve efficiency gains and improve the overall competitiveness of an economy.

Births and deaths

The enterprise birth rate measures the number of new enterprises in relation to the total population of active enterprises. The birth rate in the EU-28’s business economy (as defined by NACE Sections B to N, excluding Group 64.2) was estimated to be 9.6 % in 2015, while the death rate was estimated to be 8.3 %, indicating growth in the overall number of enterprises in the EU.

Figure 5 presents information for the 10 NUTS level 2 regions with the highest and lowest enterprise birth and death rates; note that for most of the EU Member States, information is available for NACE Sections B-S (excluding Group 64.2). In 2015, the enterprise birth rate peaked in Latvia (a single region at this level of detail; 20.1 %) and was also relatively high in Lithuania (a single region at this level of detail; 19.5 %), while there were six Portuguese regions that also featured among the top 10 regions with the highest enterprise birth rates, led by Algarve (20.0 %) and the capital city region of Área Metropolitana de Lisboa (17.5 %).

The highest enterprise death rates were also recorded across several regions of Portugal (2014 data), confirming a relatively high degree of business churn: large numbers of businesses entering and leaving the population of active enterprises. Indeed, Figure 5 confirms that it was relatively common for those regions with relatively high enterprise birth rates to also be characterised by relatively high enterprise death rates. This is perhaps not surprising, as dynamic and innovative enterprises entering a market may be in a position to drive incumbents out of the market.

There was a rapid increase in the number of active enterprises in Latvia and Lithuania in 2015

An analysis based on the difference between enterprise birth and death rates reveals that there was a net increase in enterprise numbers in a majority of the regions for which data are shown in Figure 5. The net growth was particularly strong for Latvia and Lithuania, as both of these Baltic Member States had relatively low death rates in 2015 (below the EU-28 average) in contrast to some of the highest enterprise birth rates in the EU, resulting in a rapid net increase in the number of active enterprises; this was also the case, to a lesser degree in Malta (a single region at this level of detail). Among the regions where the enterprise death rate was greater than the enterprise birth rate, differences between rates were less marked: the biggest gaps were recorded for Valle d’Aosta/Vallée d’Aoste (north-west Italy; 2014 data for the death rate), Hovedstaden (the Danish capital city region; 2013 data) and Stredné Slovensko (central Slovakia; 2014 data for the death rate) where the total number of active enterprises fell.
Figure 5: Enterprise birth and death rates in the business economy, by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(% share of active enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (bd_size_r3) and (bd_9bd_sz_cl_r2)
A closer analysis reveals that enterprise birth rates tend to be higher than average in capital city regions, which may reflect a range of factors, for example: capital city regions generally offer the largest potential market (but also the highest number of competitors), are often characterised by more highly-educated workforces and studies show that graduates are more likely to start a new business, and generally have a high proportion of service-based enterprises (where barriers to entry are often quite low). Figure 6 shows that the highest enterprise birth rates in Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, France, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Finland were registered for their respective capital city regions. The only exceptions to this pattern among those multi-regional EU Member States for which data are available were Portugal, Spain, Austria and Italy. However, enterprise birth rates remained higher than the national average in three of these, with Comunidad de Madrid (Spain) the only capital city region to record an enterprise birth rate that was lower than the national average.
Figure 6: Enterprise birth rate in the business economy, by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(% share of active enterprises)
Source: Eurostat (bd_size_r3) and (bd_9bd_sz_cl_r2)

High-growth enterprises

High-growth enterprises are defined as enterprises which have at least 10 employees at a fixed moment in time, which subsequently have average annual growth in their number of employees greater than 10.0 % during a three-year period. High-growth enterprises are of interest to policymakers because of their economic impact, particularly in creating employment opportunities. The use of a threshold of 10 employees is designed to avoid including very small enterprises where employment increases could be very high in relative terms, but with little economic impact in absolute terms, for example increasing from one employee to two employees. The share of high-growth enterprises that is shown in Map 3 is calculated relative to the total number of enterprises with at least 10 employees in 2015.

It is estimated that high-growth enterprises made up 9.9 % of the EU-28’s business enterprise population (with at least 10 employees) in 2015. Looking at the regional analysis presented in Map 3, high-growth enterprises made up 12 % or more of the business population (of enterprises with at least 10 employees) in 2015 in 12 of the 143 regions of the EU for which data are available; these regions are shown in the darkest shade of blue in the map. They included all but one of the Hungarian regions (the exception being Észak-Magyarország), two regions from Slovakia (Bratislavský kraj and Stredné Slovensko), as well as Latvia and Malta (each one region at this level of detail), Ireland and Sweden (only national data available). At the other end of the range, high-growth enterprises made up at most 3.0 % of the business population (of enterprises with at least 10 employees) in the French overseas region of Mayotte, Cyprus (one region at this level of detail) and all eight regions in Romania.
Map 3: High-growth enterprises in the business economy, by NUTS 2 regions, 2015
(% share of total number of enterprises in the business economy)
Source: Eurostat (bd_hgnace2_r3) and (bd_9pm_r2)


Source data for figures and maps


Data sources

Structural business statistics

A recast SBS Regulation (EC) No 295/2008 and its implementing regulations provide the legal basis for the annual collection of SBS. Regional SBS are compiled for the number of local units, wages and salaries, and the number of persons employed. The information presented in this article is restricted in terms of its activity coverage to the non-financial business economy (NACE Sections B-J and L-N as well as Division 95) and therefore excludes agricultural, forestry and fishing activities and public administration and other services (such as defence, education and health), which are not covered by SBS, and also excludes financial services (NACE Section K) for which only partial information exists. Regional SBS are also available for Norway, while data are presented in Maps 1 and 2 at a national level for Switzerland but are excluded from the other regional analysis.

The statistical unit used for regional SBS is generally the local unit, which is an enterprise or part of an enterprise (for example, a workshop, factory, warehouse, office, or depot) that is situated in a geographically identified place. The nature of regional SBS — combining a detailed activity classification with the regional classification — is such that some data cells are not disclosed for reasons of statistical confidentiality.

The information presented in this article is based on an indicator that measures labour input, namely, a count of the number of persons employed. It is defined as the total number of persons who work in the observation unit (inclusive of working proprietors, partners working regularly in the unit and unpaid family workers), as well as persons who work outside the unit who belong to it and are paid by it (for example, sales representatives, delivery personnel, repair and maintenance teams).

Business demography

A pilot data collection for regional business demography statistics was launched in 2012 with the support of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. This voluntary exercise provided a number of grants to national statistical authorities. Further surveys were launched from 2015: regional business demography statistics will continue to be delivered on a voluntary basis unless a new legal framework is adopted and implemented.

Within the context of business demography statistics, an enterprise birth amounts to the creation of a combination of production factors with the restriction that no other enterprises are involved in the event. Births do not include entries into the population due to mergers, break-ups, split-offs or restructurings of existing enterprises, nor do they include entries into a subpopulation resulting only from a change of activity. Rather, an enterprise birth occurs when an enterprise starts from scratch and actually starts activity when new production factors, in particular new jobs, are created. If a dormant unit is reactivated within two years, this event is not considered as a birth.

An enterprise death amounts to the dissolution of a combination of production factors with the restriction that no other enterprises are involved in the event. Deaths do not include exits from the population due to mergers, take-overs, break-ups or restructurings of existing enterprises. Equally, they do does not include exits from a subpopulation resulting only from a change of activity. An enterprise is included in the count of deaths only if it is not reactivated within two years.

For more information:


Context

Single market strategy

In order to provide a boost to the single market, the European Commission presented a single market strategy in October 2015. This aims to deliver a deeper and fairer single market — one designed, among other things, to: improve mobility for service providers, ensuring that innovative business models can flourish; make it easier for retailers to do business across borders; enhance access to goods and services throughout the EU. In January 2017, the European Commission made proposals for a new package of measures, which should help service providers navigate administrative formalities and remedy overly burdensome or outdated requirements, so that EU businesses and professionals find it easier to provide services to customers across the single market.

Industrial policy

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs is responsible, among others, for policies related to: completing the internal (or single) market for goods and services; helping turn the EU into a ‘smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy’ by implementing the industrial and sectoral policies of the Europe 2020 initiative; fostering entrepreneurship and growth by reducing the administrative burden on small businesses; facilitating access to funding for SMEs; supporting access to global markets for enterprises in the EU; generating policy on the protection and enforcement of industrial property rights, coordinating the EU’s position and negotiations; delivering the EU’s space policy; research actions to spur technological innovation and economic growth.

In its Communication (COM(2014) 14 final), For a European Industrial Renaissance, the European Commission set a target of taking the share of manufacturing back to 20 % of GDP by 2020, calling on EU and national decision-makers to recognise the central importance of modernising the industrial base. This was followed by a complementary Communication in April 2016 Digitising European industry — reaping the full benefits of a digital single market (COM(2016) 180 final) which focused on the digital transformation of the EU’s economy and the Start-up and scale-up initiative adopted in November 2016 to try to create conditions for the EU’s many innovative entrepreneurs to establish world leading enterprises, adding a focus on venture capital, insolvency law and taxation.

In September 2017, the European Commission outlined a comprehensive renewal of its industrial policy strategy bringing together existing and new cross-cutting and sector-specific initiatives, with the goal of making European industry a world leader in innovation, digitisation and decarbonisation: Investing in a smart, innovative and sustainable industry — A renewed EU industrial policy strategy (COM(2017) 479 final).

Entrepreneurship 2020

The European Commission adopted an Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan (COM(2012) 795 final) at the start of 2013, designed to stimulate and reignite entrepreneurial spirit across the EU and to remove obstacles so that more entrepreneurs are encouraged to start a business. The plan is built on three main pillars: entrepreneurial education and training to support growth and business creation; the creation of an environment where entrepreneurs can flourish and grow, removing existing administrative barriers and supporting entrepreneurs in crucial phases of the business life-cycle; and reigniting the culture of entrepreneurship in the EU and nurturing a new generation of entrepreneurs, developing role models and reaching out to specific groups whose entrepreneurial potential is not being fully tapped (for example, some ethnic minorities). The plan also seeks to remove the stigma attached to business failure and to make it easier for entrepreneurs to attract investors.

Small and medium-sized businesses

Adopted in June 2008, the Small Business Act for Europe (COM(2008) 394 final) reflects the European Commission’s recognition of the central role that SMEs play in the EU economy. It provides a policy framework for SMEs, aiming to promote entrepreneurship, help SMEs tackle problems which hamper their development and implant a ‘think small first’ principle in policymaking.

For more information:

Directorate-General for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs

Direct access to
Other articles
Tables
Database
Dedicated section
Publications
Methodology
Legislation
Visualisations
External links






Regional structural business statistics (reg_sbs)
SBS data by NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev. 2 (from 2008 onwards) (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)
Multiannual statistics for distributive trades (NACE Rev. 2, G) by NUTS 2 regions (sbs_r_3k_my_r2)
Regional business demography (reg_bd)
Business demography and high growth enterprise by NACE Rev. 2 and NUTS 3 regions (bd_hgnace2_r3)
Business demography by size class and NUTS 3 regions (bd_size_r3)
Employer business demography by NACE Rev. 2 and NUTS 3 regions (bd_enace2_r3)
Employer business demography by size class and NUTS 3 regions (bd_esize_r3)
SBS - regional data - all activities (sbs_r)

Maps can be explored interactively using Eurostat’s statistical atlas (see user manual).

This article forms part of Eurostat’s annual flagship publication, the Eurostat regional yearbook.