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New Zealand Business Demography Statistics: At February 2017
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  26 October 2017
Key facts

Business and employee numbers grow

Provisional data showed that at February 2017:

  • New Zealand had 528,170 enterprises, up 2.3 percent from February 2016.
  • The number of paid employees in these enterprises (not an official employment statistic) was 2.2 million, up 2.7 percent from February 2016.
  • These enterprises had 563,300 business locations, 2.1 percent more than at February 2016.
  • During the February 2017 year, 65,930 new enterprises started operation; 57,500 enterprises ceased operation during the same period.
  • Of the 19 industries, 14 had more enterprises compared with February 2016; 17 had more employees.
  • Of the 16 regions, 13 had more business locations compared with February 2016; 11 had more employees.

Graph, Number of enterprises and employees, February 2005–17.

Construction industry continues to expand

Between February 2016 and February 2017:

  • The number of enterprises in the construction industry increased 5.1 percent to 59,710.
  • The enterprises in construction engaged 10,700 (7.2 percent) more employees – the largest addition to employee numbers by any industry.
  • The enterprises in accommodation and food services added 9,300 (6.1 percent) extra employees; the number of enterprises up 3.8 percent to 21,340.
  • The professional, scientific, and technical services industry had 6,200 (4.3 percent) more employees; the number of enterprises up 3.5 percent.
  • The manufacturing industry retained its position as the largest employer with 241,100 employees at February 2017. Healthcare and social assistance followed closely with 232,800 employees.

Auckland accounts for half the total increase in employment

  • The Auckland region had 192,400 business locations at February 2017, up 3.8 percent from February 2016.
  • The number of employees in Auckland went up by 31,100 (4.4 percent), accounting for just over half the total increase across all regions during the year.
  • Over the last five years, the number of employees in Auckland grew at an average annual rate of 3.4 percent.

Other regions with notable annual movements to February 2017 were:

  • Northland – employees up 4.1 percent (business locations up 1.7 percent).
  • Waikato – employees up 3.3 percent (business locations up 1.5 percent).
  • Bay of Plenty – business locations and employees up 2.9 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.
  • Otago – employees up 3.6 percent (business locations up 1.6 percent).

Very few large enterprises but half of all employees work for them

At February 2017:

  • 71 percent of all enterprises had no (paid) employees.
  • 27 percent had 1–19 employees.
  • Less than 1 percent (2,460 enterprises) had 100 or more employees.
  • These enterprises (with 100 or more employees) engaged 47 percent of all employees in New Zealand.

Agriculture-related businesses are more likely to survive long term

The survival rates of new enterprises (enterprise births) over a 10-year period showed that:

  • 26 percent of all enterprises birthed in the February 2007 year survived until February 2017 (10-year survivors).
  • Agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry had the best 10-year survival rate of 36 percent.
  • 34 percent of new enterprises in the health care and social assistance industry survived 10 years to February 2017.
  • The 10-year survival rate for the retail trade industry was 21 percent.

Note: In calculating survival rates, the businesses that continued to trade under different owners (enterprises) during the survival period are treated as surviving businesses.

Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician
ISSN 1174-1988
26 October 2017

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