Employment in micro enterprises

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Enterprises in the EU27 in 2005

Micro enterprises accounted for 30% of those employed in the non-financial business economy

In 2005, there were almost 20 million enterprises active within the non-financial business economy (NFBE)1 in the EU27. Nearly all of these enterprises (99.8%) were either micro, small or medium-sized enterprises, with up to 249 persons employed. This share varied only marginally between Member States.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises' relative importance in terms of contribution to jobs and wealth was lower than their share in the total number of enterprises, since they accounted for 67% of total employment and 58% of value added2 in the non-financial business economy in the EU27 in 2005.

This information is based on a report published by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/PGP_PRD_CAT_PREREL/PGE_CAT_PREREL_YEAR_2008/PGE_CAT_PREREL_YEAR_2008_MONTH_04/4-08042008-EN-AP.PDF

The share of total employment in micro enterprises is highest in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Cyprus.

In 2005, 92% of all NFBE enterprises in the EU27 were micro-enterprises (1-9 persons employed). They employed 38 million persons, which equalled 30% of total employment, and created 1 100 billion euro of value added, which equalled 21% of total value added. The sectors with the highest share of total employment in micro-enterprises were real estate (56%), hotels & restaurants (45%) and motor trades (43%).

Among the Member States, the highest shares of total employment in micro-businesses were found in Greece (56%), Italy (47%), Portugal (43%) and Cyprus (40%), while the lowest shares were found in Slovakia (13%), Germany (19%), Denmark, Luxembourg and Romania (all 20%).

In 2005, small enterprises (10-49 persons employed) accounted for 21% of total employment and 19% of value added in the NFBE in the EU27. These enterprises' share of total employment ranged from 12% in Poland and 16% in Greece to 28% in Estonia and 26% in Spain, Latvia and Lithuania. Medium-sized enterprises (50-249 persons employed) in the EU27 accounted for 17% of total employment and 18% of value added in the NFBE in the EU27. These enterprises provided the highest share of total employment in Estonia and Lithuania (both 27%), and the lowest in Greece (10%) and Italy (12%). and highest in Slovakia and the UK for large enterprises

In the EU27 in 2005, the 40 000 large enterprises (more than 249 persons employed) active in the NFBE, representing only 0.2% of the total number of enterprises, provided 33% of total employment and generated 42% of all value added. The highest share of total employment in large enterprises were found in Slovakia and the United Kingdom (both 46%), while the lowest were observed in Cyprus (16%), Greece and Portugal (both 18%).