Fewer businesses active in Ireland since recession

CSO figures show a decline of 6,000 firms in 2011 compared to the year before

Manufacturing companies made up under 6 per cent of all enterprises  in 2011, excluding food and beverage producers. Photograph: Getty Images

Manufacturing companies made up under 6 per cent of all enterprises in 2011, excluding food and beverage producers. Photograph: Getty Images

Fri, Jul 26, 2013, 01:00



The number of businesses in Ireland continued to shrink in 2011, according to the Central Statistics Office.

There were more than 189,000 active enterprises in the private business economy in Ireland in 2011, a decline of 6,000 on the previous year. In the three years to 2011, the number of companies in the economy fell by more than 26,000.


One new firm per 400 people
The number of new companies being formed in 2011 stood at almost 12,000. On a per capita basis, that amounts to about one new business for every 400 citizens in the State.

The number of “enterprise births” has been broadly stable since the recession hit in 2008, but is down from the pre-recession period. In 2006, when the CSO began compiling corporate demographic data, nearly 17,000 new companies were formed. Of those companies that came into existence in 2006, 10,188, or 61 per cent, were still there in 2011.

As regards the number of companies going out of business, no figures are available for 2011 as yet, but unsurprisingly, the number of “enterprise deaths” rose dramatically once the recession took hold.

In 2009, the number of corporate deaths hit more 24,500, well over double that in 2006. In 2010, the latest year for which figures are available, enterprise deaths fell back to 18,000.

The services sector accounted for almost half of all enterprises in 2011, while manufacturing companies made up under 6 per cent of the total, excluding food and beverage producers. There were 1,200 companies making food and beverage products in 2011, a number largely unchanged over the previous five years.


Construction sector
The construction sector accounted for one-fifth of enterprises, down from 26 per cent in 2008. This remains, despite the collapse of the building industry, well above the EU average. In 2010, the latest year for which EU-wide figures are available, construction firms accounted for more businesses in Ireland than in any other member state. The average across the EU was 15 per cent.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (employing fewer than 250 people) accounted for 99.8 per cent of the total enterprise population in 2011 and 69 per cent of total persons employed in private companies.

Large enterprises (employing 250 or more), despite accounting for only a small fraction of total enterprise numbers, employed over 30 per cent of people working.