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New Zealand Business Demography Statistics: At February 2015
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  29 October 2015

Note: All figures in this release are provisional and subject to revision in the next release. Enterprise and business location (geographic unit) counts in this section are rounded to the nearest 10. Employee counts are rounded to the nearest 100.

Number of enterprises crosses half-a-million mark

At February 2015, there were 502,170 enterprises in New Zealand, up 1.9 percent (9,240) from February 2014, the first time the number has exceeded 500,000 (the present series goes back to February 2000).

These enterprises had 537,400 business locations (geographic units), up 1.8 percent (9.380) from February 2014.

The total number of employees in these enterprises at February 2015 was 2,045,600, up 2.3 percent (46,400) from February 2014.

Note: The number of employees (employee count) in this series always refers to paid employees. The employee count is a business size measure, not an official employment statistic.


Construction industry continues to engage more employees

At February 2015, enterprises in the construction industry employed 140,500 people – 6.4 percent more than at February 2014. This follows a 5.4 percent increase in the year to February 2014.

There were 53,520 enterprises engaged in construction, a 3.7 percent increase from February 2014.

At a more detailed industry level, residential building construction had 17,320 enterprises at February 2015 (up 4.9 percent from February 2014) and 22,000 employees (up 11.0 percent). Non-residential building construction had 1,500 enterprises (up 4.6 percent) and 11,200 employees (up 6.0 percent).

The manufacturing industry continued to be the largest employer, accounting for 11 percent of all employees at February 2015. Reversing a mostly declining trend for the past eight years, manufacturing had 5,500 (2.5 percent) more employees at February 2015 than at February 2014. The number of enterprises was 21,050 (up 1.5 percent).

Other industries with notable movements between February 2014 and February 2015 were:

  • accommodation and food services – enterprises up 1.7 percent (320) and employees up 3.6 percent (4,800)
  • financial and insurance services – enterprises up 4.0 percent (1,330) and employees up 1.4 percent (800)
  • professional, scientific, and technical services – enterprises up 4.6 percent (2,440) and employees up 3.4 percent (4,700)
  • administrative and support services – enterprises up 2.2 percent (360) and employees up 4.3 percent (4,200).

Auckland shows highest growth across all regions

Regional data showed that, between February 2014 and February 2015, the number of business locations and employees in the Auckland region increased by 2.9 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. These were the highest growth rates across all 16 regions. Auckland also continued to dominate the business counts overall, accounting for 33 percent of all business locations and 34 percent of all employees.

Canterbury region (13 percent of all business locations and 14 percent of all employees) had 2.6 percent more business locations and 3.0 percent more employees than at February 2014.

Wellington region (10 percent of all business locations and 12 percent of all employees) had more modest increases – business locations were up 0.5 percent and employees up 0.3 percent.

Among the remaining regions, Otago had the highest percentage increases in the numbers of business locations (up 1.6 percent) and employees (up 3.1 percent).  



Less than one-third of all enterprises have paid employees

At February 2015, just over 70 percent of enterprises in New Zealand had no paid employees (non-employing enterprises). Some industries had an even-higher proportion of non-employing enterprises; for example, 95 percent of enterprises in the rental, hiring, and real estate services industry had no employees at February 2015.  

Nearly half (48 percent) of all employees were working for large enterprises (those with 100 or more employees). There were 2,260 such enterprises in New Zealand at February 2015, 80 more than at February 2014. 


Māori enterprises and their employee numbers show upward trend

In business demography statistics, a Māori enterprise is defined as a Māori authority or a trust, or a subsidiary of a Māori authority or a trust.

See Definitions for a detailed definition.

At February 2015, there were 1,050 Māori enterprises and 10,300 employees working for these enterprises. At February 2010 (when this data series began), 890 Māori enterprises had 8,200 employees.

A very high proportion (76 percent) of Māori enterprises continued to be in three industries: 

  • rental, hiring, and real estate services (40 percent) – mostly rental or leasing agricultural land and other commercial property
  • agriculture, forestry, and fishing (25 percent)
  • financial and insurance services (11 percent).

Employment in Māori enterprises at February 2015, analysed by industry, showed that: 

  • transport, postal, and warehousing had 1,700 employees (100 at February 2014)
  • manufacturing and education and training  both had 1,800 employees
  • health care and social assistance was the fourth-highest employing industry, with 1,400 employees
  • agriculture, forestry, and fishing had 1,300 employees.



More business start-ups than closures

During the February 2015 year:

  • for every 100 enterprises in New Zealand, there were 12 start-ups (births) and 11 closures (deaths)
  • non-employing enterprises accounted for 86 percent of all enterprise births and 92 percent of all enterprise deaths (this category represented 70 percent of all enterprises)
  • enterprises with employees in the year they 'birthed' had an average of four employees.

Survival of start-up enterprises

Of the enterprises birthed in the February 2014 year, 85 percent survived until February 2015 (first-year survivors). For the longer term, only 27 percent of enterprise births in the February 2005 year survived to February 2015 (10-year survivors). This 10-year survival rate varied significantly across industries – 36 percent for financial and insurance services at the higher end, and 18 percent for information media and telecommunications at the lower end.




For more detailed data, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

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