We often hear talk of “the economy”, and “business” – but we thought we’d delve a little deeper into what this actually meant in 2017.
How big is the economy, for example. Gross Domestic Product – which is the total value of everything produced in the country – totalled $2,627,140 million in 2017 – or around £1,869,919 million. Such big numbers are difficult to grasp, so GDP per person may be a bit more helpful – £28,400 per person.
There are 5.7 million businesses in the UK. Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) account for over 99% of all businesses. An SME is defined as employing under 249 people, so clearly some SMEs can be pretty large.
Micro-businesses are the next scale down, and these are defined as employing between 0 and 9 people. There are 5.5 million of these, or 96% of all businesses. 33% of all employment is within this micro-business sector, and 22% of all business turnover.
Next down are sole proprietorships, where there are no employees. There are 4.3 million, 76% of businesses.
In our patch, Fenland and West Norfolk, the economy is heavily dependent on SMEs as there are very few employers with over 250 people on their books. Clearly the economy as a whole is made up of many very small businesses.
Across the country, there were 414,000 new businesses registered (in 2015, the most recent year stats are available), with 328,000 businesses folding. In East Anglia, there were 13,000 more businesses started than folded.
Nationally, the service sector dominates with 4.3 million businesses. The definition is wide, and includes retail, transport, accommodation, food, information technology, finance, insurance and many more. Service industries employ 79% of the total workforce and contribute 71% of total turnover. Retail accounts for 10% of all businesses, 19% employment and 33% of turnover.
The term ‘business’ covers such a wide range of activities and sizes. Whilst ‘big ‘business’ takes up many of the headlines, it’s the smaller businesses which touch the lives of so many people as employers, employees or customers.