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New Zealand Business Demography Statistics: At February 2016
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  27 October 2016

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.

Business and employee numbers continue to rise

At February 2016, there were 515,050 enterprises in New Zealand, up 1.6 percent (8,150) from February 2015. This follows an increase of 2.5 percent between 2014 and 2015.  

The number of business locations (geographic units) associated with these enterprises was 550,210, up 1.5 percent (8,170) from February 2015.

These enterprises engaged 2,102,300 paid employees. The number of paid employees increased by 2.4 percent (48,400) at February 2016 compared with February 2015.

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

 Graph, Number of enterprises and employee count, February 2004 to 2016.

Construction industry adds another 2,000 enterprises and 7,000 employees

Of the 19 industry divisions, 16 had more enterprises at February 2016 than at February 2015. Every industry except mining had more employees than one year ago. 

Continuing its growth trend of the past few years, the construction industry added 6,800 (4.8 percent) more employees over the year, and the number of enterprises increased by 2,020 (3.7 percent). Following closely was the accommodation and food services industry, which had 6,700 (4.7 percent) more employees and 730 (3.7 percent) more enterprises at February 2016 than at February 2015. 

The administrative and support services industry had increases of 5,700 employees (up 5.7 percent) and 260  enterprises (up 1.6 percent) over the year. Within this industry, the employment services group, which consists of employment placement and recruitment services and labour supply services, had 3,500 (8.0 percent) more employees at February 2016 than at February 2015.

The manufacturing industry continued to be the largest employer, with 235,300 employees (11 percent of all employees) at February 2016. It added 3,000 (1.3 percent) more employees and 110 (0.5 percent) more enterprises over the year. The second-largest industry by way of employment was health care and social services (224,300 employees). This industry had 4,000 (1.8 percent) more employees and 550 (3.0 percent) more enterprises at February 2016 than at February 2015.

Over the past 10 years, the number of employees in the health care and social services industry has risen by 39,000 (21.1 percent) – the highest increase of all industries. At February 2016, there were 130 hospitals, employing 80,100 (13,600 or 20.4 percent more than at February 2006). In 860 enterprises engaged in residential care services at February 2016, there were 50,000 employees. This was an increase of 7,900 or 18.7 percent from 10 years ago.

Nearly all regions get more employees, while Auckland adds most to business locations

Regional data showed that between February 2015 and February 2016:

  • The Auckland and Bay of Plenty regions had the highest percentage increases in the number of business locations (3.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively). 
  • The number of business locations in all other regions except the West Coast had comparatively smaller changes (1.0 percent or less).
  • All regions except Taranaki and the West Coast had more employees at February 2016 than at February 2015.  

Some other regional highlights:

  • Auckland continued to dominate the employment scene (34 percent of all employees), and over the year added another 26,600 (3.8 percent) to the number of employees in the region.
  • Both the Bay of Plenty and Marlborough regions had 4.6 percent more employees than one year ago.
  • Canterbury (the second-largest region in terms of business locations and employees) had a 1.0 percent rise in both the number of business locations and employees over the year. The average annual increases of the number of business locations and employees in Canterbury between 2012 and 2015 were 3.1 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.
  • The West Coast – the region with the lowest number of business locations (3,800) – had a further decrease of 2.2 percent during the February 2016 year.

 Graph, Number of business locations, by region, at February 2016.

Enterprises and employees increase across all employee size groups

The number of enterprises and employees increased across all employee size groups during the year to February 2016. 

Enterprises with 50–99 employees had the highest percentage increase (4.3 percent) in both the number of enterprises and employees. This employee size group had 2,980 enterprises and 203,300 employees at February 2016. 

At February 2016, there were 2,350 enterprises with 100 or more employees, 70 more than at February 2015. These enterprises had a total of 993,800 employees or 47 percent of all employees – an increase of 21,200 from February 2015.

Seventy percent of all enterprises at February 2016 had no paid employees.  

Graph, Proportions of enterprises and employees, by employee size group, at February 2016.

Māori businesses mostly located in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Gisborne

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 2016, regional data showed that a high proportion (54.7 percent) of Māori enterprises had business locations concentrated in three regions – Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Gisborne.

Compared with at February 2015:

  • the Waikato region (20 percent of all Māori business locations and 22 percent of all employees) had 2.2 more business locations and 13.2 percent more employees
  • the Bay of Plenty region (26 percent of all business locations and 13 percent of all employees) had 4.1 percent more business locations and 3.1 percent less employees
  • the Gisborne region (9 percent of all Māori business locations and 7 percent of all employees) had 3.4 percent more business locations and 2.7 percent more employees
  • among the remaining regions, the South Island regions combined accounted for 13 percent of all Māori business locations and 26 percent of all employees. The South Island had 2.3 percent more business locations, and an increase in the number of employees (up 25.6 percent).

Graph, Regional shares of Māori business locations, Māori business locations compared with all New Zealand business locations, at February 2016.

More enterprise births than deaths over four consecutive years

Provisional data showed that during the February 2016 reference year, 58,560 new enterprises started operation (enterprise births). These births represented 11 percent of the total number of enterprises at February 2016. During the same period, 53,740 enterprises or 10 percent of all enterprises ceased operation (enterprise deaths). 

This was the fourth consecutive year in which the number of enterprise births exceeded the number of deaths.

During the February 2016 year:

  • non-employing enterprises accounted for 84 percent of all enterprise births and 93 percent of all enterprise deaths (this category of enterprises represented only 70 percent of all enterprises)
  • enterprises that had employees in their year of  birth had four employees on average.

Survival of start-up enterprises

Of the enterprises birthed in the February 2015 year, 84 percent survived until February 2016 (first-year survivors). For the longer term, only 26 percent of enterprise births in the February 2006 year survived to February 2016 (10-year survivors). This 10-year survival rate varied significantly across industries – from 36 percent for the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry at the top end, to 20 percent for the information media and telecommunications industry at the bottom end.

 Graph, Number of enterprise births and deaths, February 2007 to 2016.

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

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