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Here's how many Irish businesses 'died' in one year

New CSO figures show that while 11,237 enterprises were ‘born’ in 2011, 18,308 ‘died’.

NEWLY-RELEASED FIGURES give an insight into how many businesses ‘died’ and were ‘born’ in Ireland over a four-year period.

The Central Statistics Office has released the figures, which also show the number of people employed in these businesses.

Births and deaths

The most recent figures date to 2011, and show that there were 11,847 enterprise ‘births’ that year, compared to 11,237 in 2010.

While no figures for businesses ‘deaths’ are available for 2011, in 2010 the number stood at 18,308. This was down from 24, 511 in 2009 and 20,601 in 2008.

In 2008, there were 11,954 new businesses born, which rose to 13,810 in 2009. The percentage change in enterprise births from 2008 – 2011 was -0.9 per cent, while there was a +5.4 per cent change between 2010 and 2011.

The total number of people engaged in enterprises changed at a rate of -18.6 per cent from 2008 – 2011 and -1.2 per cent from 2010 to 2011.

The overall number of enterprises, meanwhile, saw a change of -12.6 per cent from 2008 – 2011, and -3.3 per cent from 2010 to 2011. In 2011, there were 189,055 enterprises, with 1,223,047 people engaged in them.


The services sector accounted for almost half (48 per cent) of all enterprises in 2011, with the construction sector accounting for a fifth (19 per cent) of enterprises. In 2008 construction accounted for 26 per cent of total enterprises, and by 2011 it accounted for 19 per cent.

In 2011 the services sector accounted for 42 per cent of all persons engaged, while in 2008 it accounted for 39 per cent. Construction accounted for 7 per cent of all persons engaged in 2011, down from 13 per cent in 2008.

Small and medium sized enterprises accounted for nearly 99.8 per cent of the total enterprise population for 2011 – and they also accounted for 68.6 per cent of total persons engaged, with large enterprises (employing 250 or more persons) employing over 30 per cent of persons engaged.

The one year survival rate for enterprises to 2011 has decreased since 2007, said the CSO, “highlighting the difficulties of staying in business over the period”.

Birth rates

The Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply sector had the highest enterprise birth rate of 10.97 per cent, while the second highest was 10.62 per cent in Information and Communication. The number of births in construction increased from 1,818 to 1,976, but is still below 2009 birth levels and less than 35 per cent of the 2006 peak (5,717).

Over 18,000 enterprises ceased during 2010, resulting in a loss of nearly 25,000 jobs – 25 per cent less deaths than 2009. The sector with the largest reduction in the number of enterprises was the construction sector, with over 12.75 per cent of enterprises ceasing. This was followed by Real Estate Activities at almost 10.1 per cent. In comparison with 2009 figures, the number of deaths decreased in all sectors.

Construction had the most persons employed in ceased enterprises, with a loss of 6,207 jobs. The second highest was the Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motor Cycles sector, with a loss of just over 5,000 jobs.

In EU terms, Ireland’s largest sector of active enterprises, the services sector at 47 per cent in 2010, is higher than the EU average (45 per cent) but lower than Germany (51 per cent) and the UK (55 per cent).

That year, Ireland had the largest percentage share of active enterprises in the EU for sector Construction at over 20 per cent. This compares to 15 per cent for the EU average, the UK at 16 per cent and Germany at 13 per cent.

Read: Bruton: Welcomes Action Plan for Jobs progress but people are still struggling>

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