The latest Northern Ireland business; activity, size, location and ownership, 2022 statistics have been released by NISRA.
These statistics are sourced from the Northern Ireland Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR), and the key points are listed below.
The number of businesses operating in Northern Ireland increased by 1.6 per cent over the year to March 2022.
- The number of VAT and/or PAYE registered businesses operating in Northern Ireland is estimated to have risen by 1,245 (1.6 per cent) to 78,885. This marked the eighth consecutive year of increase following a period of decline from 2008 to 2014.
The majority of businesses in Northern Ireland were micro-businesses.
- In March 2022, the majority of businesses (89 per cent, 70,510) in Northern Ireland were micro-businesses (less than 10 employees). Just over 2 per cent (1,640) of businesses had 50 or more employees.
- Almost half of businesses in Northern Ireland (45 per cent or 35,415) had a turnover of less than £100,000, whilst 10 per cent (8,220) had a turnover in excess of £1 million.
Construction, Production, and Services all saw an increase on 2021, the seventh consecutive year of growth for all 3 sectors.
- The Service sector, which remained the largest in Northern Ireland, accounted for 56 per cent of all businesses and grew by 1.5 per cent over the year to March 2022. Within the Service sector, Accommodation and food services businesses witnessed the largest increase on the previous year (225 businesses or 5.3 per cent).
- The number of businesses in the Construction sector reached an 11-year high (11,195 businesses) but remained 2.6 per cent below the series high figure of (11,495) in 2010.
The geographic split of businesses across the 11 district council areas remained relatively unchanged, with only Antrim and Newtownabbey (-1.0 per cent) experiencing a decrease in its business population.
- Of the 1,245 newly registered businesses in Northern Ireland, 325 (26 per cent) were in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon and a further 210 (17 per cent) were in Mid Ulster.
- Belfast remained the district council area with the most businesses (11,405), accounting for 14 per cent of all VAT and/or PAYE registered businesses in Northern Ireland in 2022. The most recent Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) 2020 showed that 30 per cent of all employee jobs across Northern Ireland were based in the Belfast District Council area. Further details on the BRES can be found on the NISRA website at Business Register and Employment Survey
Of the 78,885 businesses operating in Northern Ireland 1,995 (2.5 per cent) were non-NI owned.
- Non-NI owned businesses accounted for 2.5 per cent of the business population and almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of employees.
- The number of businesses operating in Northern Ireland owned by an enterprise registered outside of Northern Ireland increased by just over a fifth (22 per cent or 360) over the five years to 2022. The total number of employees working within these enterprises increased slightly (0.4 per cent or 740) over the same period.
Notes to editors:
1. Today’s release contains statistics derived from the Inter Departmental Business Register (IDBR). The IDBR is a register of all businesses that are registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or operating a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme in the UK. The IDBR covers most of the economy including the Agriculture, Production, Construction and Service sectors. It does not hold details on those small businesses that fall below the VAT threshold (£85,000 in 2021/2022) or do not operate a PAYE scheme.
2. A snapshot of the IDBR is taken each year in March to produce statistics on the number of businesses operating in Northern Ireland. These statistics are presented in the Northern Ireland IDBR report and associated tables include industry, size, legal status, location and foreign ownership data. Information on foreign owned businesses operating in the UK is obtained by the ONS from Dun and Bradstreet, a market information company.
3. The IDBR covers most of the economy including the Agriculture, Production and Service sectors in Northern Ireland. However, it does not include very small businesses that fall below the VAT threshold (£85,000 in 2021/22) or do not operate a PAYE scheme. This means that many self-employed workers will not be included on the IDBR. Latest figures published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which include an estimate of the number of unregistered businesses in the private sector, indicate that at the start of 2021 the number of unregistered businesses in Northern Ireland was 50,785 (76,710 in 2020). Further information is available at Business Population Estimates 2021
4. The full Northern Ireland Inter-Departmental Business Register Statistics report is available on the NISRA website
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