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9 out of 10 enterprises in the EU employ fewer than 10 persons

Nov 17, 2015 | News

(17 November 2015) – On the occasion of the European SME Week, Eurostat publishes data on enterprises broken down by employment size classes, with a special focus on the importance of micro-enterprises in the EU business economy.

Micro-enterprises, as well as small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), are considered as a driver of the economy of the European Union, creating jobs and contributing to economic growth.

In 2012, of the 22.3 million enterprises in the EU’s non-financial business economy, an overwhelming majority (92.7%) were microenterprises (with 0 to 9 persons employed) accounting for 29.2% of employment, 7.1% were small and medium enterprises (with 10 to 249 persons employed) accounting for 38.0% of employment, and 0.2% were large enterprises (with 250 or more persons employed) accounting for 33.0% of persons employed.

2.3 million enterprises were created in 2012 across the EU. Most of them (70.8%) had no employees. These sole entrepreneurs represented 46.9% of all persons employed in newly-born enterprises.

Sole entrepreneurs accounted for the largest share of employment in newly-born enterprises in fourteen Member States. This was particularly the case in France (where newly-born enterprises without any employee represented 75.9% of total employment in newly-born enterprises),the Czech Republic (66.0%), the Netherlands (63.8%), Portugal (63.5%), Poland (63.1%), Denmark (62.5%) and Belgium (61.7%).

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