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Commission study finds Small companies create 85% of new jobsNews - 16/01/2012
A Commision study published on 16th January 2012 finds that 85% of net new jobs (1) in the EU between 2002 and 2010 were created by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This figure is considerably higher than the 67%-share of SMEs in total employment. During this period, net employment in the EU's business economy rose substantially, by an average of 1.1 million new jobs each year.
The employment growth for SMEs outpaced that of enterprises with 0.5% on an annual basis. A clear exception is the trade sector, in which employment in SMEs increased by 0.7% annually, compared to 2.2% in large enterprises. This is due to the strong increase of large trade enterprises, in particular in sales, maintenance and repair of motor vehicles. Within the SME size-class, micro firms (less than 10 employees) are responsible with 58% for the highest proportion of total net employment growth in the business economy. Secondly new firms (younger than five years) are responsible for an overwhelming majority of the new jobs. New enterprises operating in business services create more than a quarter (27%) of the new jobs, while the new firms in transport and communication contribute least (6%).
Despite this dynamism, the study finds that SMEs had been hit far more severely by the economic crisis. As a result of the 2009/2010 economic crisis the number of jobs in the SME-sector has on average decreased by 2.4% annually, as against 0.95% annually in the large enterprises sector. Employment developments are still negative in 2010, but expectations for 2011 were improving at the time the survey was held. The share of firms that expected to lay off employees in 2011 was smaller than the share of firms that actually laid off employees in 2010.
Besides the employment effects, by far the most important negative effect of the crisis on firms is the overall decline of total demand for their products and services (mentioned by 62% of companies), followed by the increase in customer payment terms (mentioned by 48% of firms) and finally the shortage of working capital, which affected 31% of the respondents.
The study is part of the SME Performance Review project and based on a survey of enterprises conducted at the end of 2010 and covering the 27 EU member states and 10 other countries participating in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, namely Albania, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey.
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