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This release covers the reference year 2019, however data on enterprise deaths relates to 2018. Statistics are also provided on enterprise births since 2014 that were still active during 2019. All 2019 enterprise births will be followed for 5 years to assess their survival rate and the resulting effect on employment.

Detailed data tables are available on CSO’s data dissemination service

The Survey Information provide more details on the release.  

For further information on the NACE Rev. 2 classification of economic activity, please see NACE Rev. 2.


1The private business economy covers the NACE Rev. 2 sectors B - N (excluding K64.20 Activities of holding companies). For comparison with previous Business Demography releases only sectors B – N (excluding K64.20, activities of holding companies) figures are included in the release text.

The full list of Rev. 2 sectors covered is:

B – Mining and Quarrying, NACE Rev.2 codes 05-09

C – Manufacturing, NACE Rev. 2 codes 10-33

D – Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply, NACE Rev. 2 code 35

E – Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities, NACE Rev. 2 codes 36-39

F – Construction, NACE Rev. 2 codes 41-43

G – Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles, NACE Rev. 2 codes 45-47

H – Transportation and Storage, NACE Rev. 2 codes 49-53

I – Accommodation and Food Service Activities, NACE Rev. 2 codes 55 and 56

J – Information and Communication, NACE Rev. 2 codes 58-63

K – Financial and Insurance Activities (excludes NACE code 64.20 Activities of holding companies), NACE Rev. 2 codes 64-66 excluding 64.20

L – Real Estate Activities, NACE Rev. 2 code 68

M – Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities, NACE Rev. 2 codes 69-75

N – Administrative and Support Service Activities, NACE Rev. 2 codes 77-82

2The composition of sectors used in the graphs is as follows:

- Services: Sectors H, I, J, L, M, N, NACE Rev. 2 codes 49-53, 55-56, 58-63, 68, 69-75, 77-82

- Distribution: Sector G, NACE Rev. 2 codes 45-47

- Industry: Sectors B, C, D, E, NACE Rev. 2 codes 05-09, 10-33, 35, 36-39

- Construction: Sector F - NACE Rev. 2 codes 41-43

- Financial Service Activities: Sector K, NACE Rev. 2 codes 64-66 excluding 64.20,   Activities of holding companies.

Tourism Enterprises/Industries

For this release, Tourism Industries is derived from a list of NACE Rev. 2 activities developed by Eurostat. This list comprises of:

H4910               Passenger rail transport, interurban

H4932               Taxi operation

H4939               Other passenger land transport n.e.c.

H5010               Sea and coastal passenger water transport

H5030               Inland passenger water transport

H5110               Passenger air transport

I5510                Hotels and similar accommodation

I5520                Holiday and other short-stay accommodation

I5530                Camping grounds, recreational vehicle parks and trailer parks

I5610                Restaurants and mobile food service activities

I5630                Beverage serving activities

N7710               Renting and leasing of cars and trucks

N7721               Renting and leasing of recreational and sports goods

N7910               Travel agency and tour operator activities

N7990               Other reservation service and related activities

An enterprise is considered to be active in a certain period if it generates turnover, employs staff or makes investments in that period.

The number of active enterprises in year t (reference year) cannot be calculated from previous active enterprise figures and births and deaths figures. e.g. the number of active enterprises in year t does not equal the number of active enterprises in year t-1, minus deaths in t-1 plus births in year t. Birth calculations involve profiling work where real births are checked and weights applied based on checks conducted (a similar process is conducted for death calculations). In addition, final enterprise deaths take two years to be finalised, therefore enterprises may not be in enterprise totals in one year but could be in the next year and may still not be considered an enterprise birth or death. 

Geographical Breakdown the geographical breakdown for enterprises is an approximation. The county breakdown is based on the address at which an enterprise is registered for Revenue purposes, rather than where the business actually operates from, because no comprehensive administrative data source is currently available for business locations. In particular, where an enterprise has local units in several counties, but one head office where all employment is registered, all its employees will be counted against the county where the head office is located. Enterprises where the county location is categorised as Unknown generally have Revenue registered addresses outside of the Republic of Ireland. However, the employees registered with these addresses are working in the Republic of Ireland.

3Persons engaged include employees, proprietors and family members. Persons engaged are the sum of Employees plus Working Proprietors.

Employees are persons who are paid a fixed wage or salary. Employees are calculated using a monthly employment return received from Revenue, the PAYE Modernisation (PMOD) dataset. PMOD has been operational in the State since 1 January 2019. The monthly returns contain all registered employers and the number of employees they have paid a wage or salary during each month of the year. The employee count for Business Demography from 2019 is the average employment figure over the period, based on the monthly PMOD returns for each individual enterprise.

Please see the ‘Business Demography 2019 Supplementary Information Notice’, which gives further details on the new input for employee data.

The file can contain individuals paid a wage by an employer as well as self-employed individuals who pay themselves a working wage. An individual may be counted more than once for a reference year if they work multiple jobs in that reference year. The monthly employment returns from Revenue contains persons at work or temporarily absent because of illness, holidays, strike etc. If an individual is paid a wage for any segment of a reference year they can be included in the overall figures.

Working Proprietors (Proprietors and family members); included here are those proprietors, partners, etc and members of their families who work regularly in the firm and are not paid a definite wage or salary. Working Proprietors is not a full count of self-employed individuals as some self-employed receive a wage and are returned via annual employment returns and are included in the Employees calculation.  

Comparison of Business Demography and Labour Force Survey employment levels:
The primary classification used for the Labour Force Survey (LFS) results is the International Labour Office (ILO) labour force classification. Labour Force Survey data on this basis have been published since 1988. The ILO classification distinguishes the following main subgroups of the population aged 15 or over

In Employment: Persons who worked in the week before the survey for one hour or more for payment or profit, including work on the family farm or business and all persons who had a job but were not at work because of illness, holidays etc. in the week.

Unemployed: Persons who, in the week before the survey, were without work and available for work within the next two weeks, and had taken specific steps, in the preceding four weeks, to find work. It should be noted that as per Eurostat’s operational implementation, the upper age limit for classifying a person as unemployed is 74 years.

Inactive Population (not in labour force): All other persons.

The labour force comprises persons employed plus unemployed. Persons in employment classify their employment status as being self-employed, employee, assisting relative/family worker or on a state sponsored employment scheme. Employees are defined as persons who work for a public or private employer and who receive compensation in the form of wages, salaries, fees, gratuities, payment by results or payment in kind. Self-employed persons who pay themselves a working wage are classified as self-employed in the LFS.

Key Differences between LFS and Business Demography figures include:
- Business Demography is based purely on administrative data received from Revenue on a monthly basis.
- LFS is based on survey data which is collected every quarter from the household.
- Business Demography does not cap employment at 1 or at any value for an individual. Business Demography employment is a count of persons engaged at an enterprise and sector level. All work conducted by an individual over an annual period is included in the relevant enterprise (and therefore sector) in which they worked, on the basis of weeks (not hours) worked. 
- LFS caps employment at 2 for an individual in relation to full time equivalence only, therefore it takes into consideration a person’s first and second job. Otherwise employment is capped at one for an individual. 
- Timing issues. As stated, LFS is conducted on a quarterly basis while Business Demography is conducted over a yearly basis. LFS also takes into account the hours worked by an individual and uses these values in full time equivalent employment calculations. Business Demography operates on a weeks worked basis from files received from Revenue. If an individual is classed as working 52 weeks in a reference period for an enterprise, they are classed as 1 employee (no hours worked is taken into consideration), irrespective of how many hours they have actually worked in those weeks. 

4Small and Medium Enterprises are defined as enterprises with less than 250 persons engaged. The persons engaged breakdown provided in the figures are;

Less than 10: Micro Enterprises

10 – 49: Small Enterprises

50 – 249: Medium Enterprises

250+: Large Enterprises.

5Enterprise Deaths: 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, takeovers, break-ups or restructuring of a set of enterprises. It does not include exits from a sub-population 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.

The population of enterprise deaths in 2018 contains all enterprises that ceased at some point during the year 2018. The figures given in the release in relation to deaths are final figures for the period 2009 – 2017. The death figures for 2018 in this release are estimates of final deaths based on analysis of preliminary and final death figures from previous years. This will be revised to a final figure next year, when two years of death data is available. The death figures for 2018 in the PxStat tables are preliminary based on one year’s data, and are not adjusted as per the estimates given in this release.

6Enterprise Births: 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-off or restructuring of a set of enterprises. It does not include entries into a sub-population resulting only from a change of activity.

A birth occurs when an enterprise starts from scratch and actually starts activity. An enterprise creation can be considered an enterprise birth if new production factors, in particular new jobs, are created. If a dormant unit is reactivated within two years, this event is not considered a birth.

The population of enterprise births in 2019 contains all enterprises that started at some stage during the year 2019.

7Population, births and survival data in this release relates to 2019, but the latest deaths data available is for 2018.

8Business Demography figures at an EU level are available at the following link. Latest data available is for 2018.