Updated: 25 October 2022
Next update: 25 April 2023
About the statistics
The business statistics provide information on the activity in the Norwegian business sector. The statistics are based on register data from income statements and ‘a-ordningen’, which is a coordinated service used by employers to report information about income and employees, as well as surveys and other sources such as annual accounts. The statistics are published at enterprise and establishment level for the main industry classifications B-J, L-N and S.
In the statistics, the enterprise is the legal entity.
Local kind-of-activity unit (LKAU)
Defined as a locally delimited functional unit that mainly performs activities within a specific industry group.
The location is in accordance with the municipal divisions as of 1 January in the reference year. In some industries, an enterprise can operate in several municipalities or counties without being divided into several KAUs. In such cases, the enterprise’s collective activity is registered under the enterprise’s business address.
Owners without fixed salary who work in the enterprise daily
Owners include owners of sole proprietorships, general partnerships and shared liability companies, as well as family members without a fixed salary who work in the enterprise on a daily basis and such like. Co-owners in shareholder groups and cooperatives who are paid to work in the enterprise are not included. Neither are family members of owners of sole proprietorships, general partnerships or shared liability companies if they have a fixed salary.
The number of employees is taken from ‘a-ordningen’ dating back to 2015. An employee is someone who works for an employer and earns a wage/salary or other remuneration. The employer has an obligation to submit monthly reporting figures for all employees. Exceptions apply to certain types of employment where the employer does not have the usual authority to issue instructions vis-à-vis an employee. In the figures on employees, all employment in a unit during the year is included. Checks are made to ensure that each person can have only one job in the same enterprise, but can be registered as an employee in several enterprises at the same time.
The number of employees shown in the business statistics represents an annual average.
The employment figure is made up of owners and employees. Those with more than one job may be counted in more than one industry. The employment figures in the business statistics show an annual average of the number in employment.
In the register-based employment statistics, each person is only counted in their main job. However, in the business statistics, the same person can have more than one job at the same time. The register-based employment statistics are based on persons employed, while the business statistics provide information on the KAUs and enterprises that make up the population. The number of persons employed in the business statistics will therefore not be directly comparable with the number of persons employed in other statistics.
Contracted workers from temporary employment agencies are not included in the employment figures. Contracted construction workers from temporary employment agencies in Norway are included in the figures for industry group 78.200 – Temporary employment agency activities. Contracted workers from foreign employment agencies are not included in the statistics.
Part-time employees are employees who has contracted less than 30 workinghours per week.
Full-time equivalent (FTE)
FTE refers to the unit of measurement equivalent to a full-time employee, and the figures show the annual FTE in the enterprise. This figure corresponds to the number of employees converted to the number of FTEs.
The turnover is defined as an enterprise’s annual sales revenue net of all government grants and profits from the sale of assets. Special government taxes on sales, and other taxes and duties are included in the turnover, but VAT is not.
The production value is defined as turnover adjusted for changes in stocks of finished goods, goods in process and goods and services purchased for resale.
Intermediate consumption Value of the goods and services consumed as inputs in the production process, excluding fixed assets whose consumption is recorded as consumption of fixed capital. Depreciation of fixed assets are not included
Value added at factor cost Value added at factor cost is defined as the Production value minus Intermediate consumption. Public subsidiaries are added and special taxes are subracted
Labour costs Labour costs include wages, holiday pay, fees etc., employers’ National Insurance contributions, reportable pension costs and other personnel costs. Labour costs do not include remuneration to owners of sole proprietorships or general partnerships, or to family members without a fixed salary.
Wages Includes salaries, holiday pay, fees etc. Employers’ National Insurance contributions, reportable pension costs and other personnel costs are not included.
Social security costs Includes employers’ National Insurance contributions, reportable pension costs and other personnel costs.
Gross operating profit
The gross operating profit is the sum of the value added (at factor prices) minus labour costs.
Cost of temporary workers Cost of temporary workers includes payments to temporary employment agencies and similar organisations for personnel provided by them. Only payments for personnel that are not related to the performance of a particular industrial or non-industrial service are included.
Total purchase of goods and services
The total purchase of goods and services includes the value of all goods and services that are purchased during the course of the year for resale, for use in the enterprise’s own production process or for storage. The procurement of tangible fixed assets is not included in these figures.
Purchase of goods for resale
The purchase of goods for resale is defined as the value of all goods purchased by the enterprise for resale without further processing.
Gross investments are the total value of new capital goods such as buildings and plant, machinery, tools, implements, software, vehicles (except for personal use), both new and used. Building sites are included Improvements are added . Financial leasing is included from2019 in all sections Investment figures are minus incoming value added tax.
Tjhe implementation of IFRS16 makes the Gross Investments not directly comaprable to earlier years. Units, having operational leasing agreements, should register the Capital goods on the balance sheet. It wil in practice turn the arrangment from operational leasing to fiancial leasing and should therefore be included in the Gross investments.
The industry classification is in accordance with the Norwegian Standard Industrial Classification (SIC2007) used in Statistics Norway, which is based on the EU Standard NACE Rev. 2 and the United Nation’s International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC), Rev. 4.
See Statistics Norway’s Standard Industrial Classification for a description of the different industries.
Earlier time series with figures up to the end of 2008 are published in accordance with SIC2002 (based on the EU’s standard NACE Rev. 1.) Here you can find information on the transition to a new industry standard.
Name: Business statistics
Topic: Establishments, enterprises and accounts
Division for Structural Business Statistics
The figures are published at the national level. For final figures, some variables at county and regional level are also published.
The statistics are published annually. Preliminary figures are published approximately 10 months after the end of the statistical year, while final figures are published approximately 16 months after the end of the statistical year.
The statistics are reported to Eurostat.
Microdata, information about sample units and population, is temporarily stored in the SAS programming language, and long-term storage is in the form of text files.
The business statistics provide detailed information on the activity in industries based on accounting figures and questionnaires.
The statistics adhere to Regulation (EC) No 295/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 concerning structural business statistics, as amended by regulations 251/2009, 517/2013 and 446/2014.
The main industry classifications B: Mining and quarrying (excluding industries 06 and 09.1) and C: Manufacturing were first published in 1876.
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, under classification G, was first published in 1956.
Construction statistics were first published in 1966.
Administrative and support service activities and real estate activities were first published in 1979.
Sewerage and remediation activities were first published in 1995, and water supply and materials recovery were included in 2008.
Other service activities were first published in 1995.
Figures on parts of the information and communication, transportation and storage sectors, as well as accommodation and food service activities, were published in 1998, and final figures at both enterprise and KAU level were first produced in 1999.
As of 5 November 2019, all the above statistics were merged to form the business statistics.
The business statistics are produced to meet the requirements of the EU’s regulation on structural statistics, based on the need for data in the national accounts. In addition, ministries and various trade associations request figures in this area. The business sector and other users also pay to receive specially adapted business statistics.
No external users have access to the statistics before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.
The data collected for the business statistics includes information on employment. In these statistics, both full-time and part-time employees are counted as employed, and the figure represents an average for the year. Employment data is also found in the National Accounts and in other employment statistics.
While the business statistics can provide employment figures at a detailed industry level, and are consistent with other KAU-related variables, the National Accounts provide quarterly figures with a short production time. The Labour Market Survey and the register-based employment statistics also provide figures for personal identifiers such as age, sex, education and working hours. The register-based employment statistics also give figures down to municipality level.
In comparisons with other employment statistics, users should be aware that definitions and methods differ slightly between the various statistics, and that the figures will therefore vary. The business statistics apply the definitions stipulated in the EU’s regulation on structural statistics.
In addition to the business statistics, quarterly turnover statistics are also published.
The Statistics Act, sections 2-2, 2-3 and 3-2.
Regulation (EC) No 295/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 concerning structural business statistics. In addition, Norway has, through the EEA agreement, undertaken to comply with Regulation (EC) No 1893/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 establishing the statistical classification of economic activities NACE Revision 2.
All enterprises in the main industry classifications B-J, L-N and S should normally be included in the statistics if they are registered with active business in Norway during the statistical year.
The EU’s regulation on structural statistics primarily requires statistics at the enterprise level. Statistics are compiled at the KAU level for the National Accounts and other Norwegian users. It is worth noting that the KAU-based figures show different values to the enterprise-based figures. This is because enterprises are placed in the industry subclassification that accounts for most of their activity, and can therefore be placed in a different industry to some of the activity in the enterprise.
The exception for inclusion in the statistics is enterprises within public administration and social security administration, county authorities and local authorities, i.e. enterprises with sector codes 6100 and 6500. (For industry classification 52.221 Operation of harbours of plants, it has been decided that units with sector code 6500 should be included in the statistics.)
These enterprises must not be confused with public incorporated and unincorporated enterprises owned by central government, and public incorporated and unincorporated enterprises owned by local government, i.e. enterprises with sector codes 1110, 1120, 1510 and 1520, which are included in the statistics if they operate in the relevant main industry classifications.
The NACE grouo 70.1 (Services by Headquarters) is not inclued in the statistic, as all activity is regarded as internal in the Enterprise Group
The population consists of all active enterprises in the industry classifications during the statistical year. All multi-activity enterprises in the population are normally also included in the sample. In addition, the population is divided into levels by industry and number of employees. Based on these levels, a representative sample of single-activity enterprises is drawn for the sample. In practice, this may entail a full census count for some levels.
Where available, income statements, VAT data (VAT Register) and balance sheets are obtained from the tax authorities for the entire population, in addition to annual accounts from the Register of Company Accounts at Brønnøysund, and employment figures from ‘a-ordningen’. A questionnaire (often called a supplementary form) is also sent to the enterprises in the sample.
The enterprises in the sample receive digital forms for reporting via Altinn before the summer. Enterprises that do not respond are subject to a compulsory fine. The forms provide detailed information on the enterprises’ finances, which together with the income statement, balance sheet and employment figures from ‘a-ordningen’ form a complete basis for the variables for which statistics are produced. Enterprises are asked to give a financial breakdown of their KAUs.
For enterprises that are not part of the sample, the turnover is retrieved from the income statement if available. If no income statement is available, the turnover is obtained from the VAT Register. Employment figures are still retrieved from ‘a-ordningen’, but are sometimes estimated based on turnover.
Editing and estimations
Data from forms and income statements is checked and edited. The annual accounts are an important source for this work. Other sources include the previous year’s figures, the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises and information from the enterprises themselves.
Turnover and employment are considered full-count variables and are used to estimate the remaining variables for the enterprises outside the sample. The method is based on finding units outside the sample with a corresponding industry code that is similar to a unit in the sample, for the two variables where we have a full count. These units are then allocated values for the other variables based on the given value in the sample. The ‘nearest neighbours’ method is used to select which units are similar to each other.
If fewer than three units form the basis of a cell in a table or one or more units dominate, the figures will not be published because there is a risk that the figure can be traced back to the respondent. This particularly applies when publishing figures at a low geographical level. This is solved by suppressing these figures in the table.
For comparisons with previously published figures, users should be aware that older data may have been altered in the revision of the previous year’s statistics. In addition, updates to industry codes in the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises may result in changes for some of the industries. Such changes will not be reflected in the figures for previous years.
Employment figures were previously retrieved from the State Register of Employers and Employees, but since 2015, they have been obtained through ‘a-ordningen’. The employment figures are not directly comparable with previous years. We have added three links that describe the differences between the two ways of obtaining employment figures: a page for register-based employment, details of the correlation between old and new statistics, and ‘a-ordningen’ – one data source for three agencies.
It should also be noted that the industry standard changed from SIC2002 to SIC2007 as of the statistics year 2008, which will affect comparability with previous years.
From 2015, the forms have been submitted via Altinn. Statistical survey results can, nevertheless, contain measurement and processing errors.
Measurement errors occur as a result of the respondent giving an incorrect answer either because they did not understand the question or they inadvertently gave the wrong information. A common example is numbers that are quoted in whole NOK instead of NOK 1000. Using familiar terms and providing easy access to guidance reduces this type of error.
Processing errors include coding errors and errors that occur during the transferring of information from the questionnaire or during editing.
Form-based surveys normally entail some level of non-response. Non-response by units can be due to conditions such as closure, bankruptcy, merger, demerger, holiday leave, submission errors etc. Partial non-response can be due to an oversight, missing data or other factors.
Non-response by critical units is followed up in the manual post-check. Other enterprises that do not return their forms are treated in the same way as enterprises that are not included in the sample. The use of compulsory fines reduces the non-response rate considerably, but not necessarily the uncertainty. For example, the respondents may choose to estimate figures just to avoid the fine.
About 95 per cent of the forms sent are normally returned. This means that the unit non-response rate is relatively low. However, the rate is somewhat higher in relation to answers to individual questions. This particularly applies to the breakdown of financial figures at the Local-KAU level. This is addressed through contact with the enterprises and the use of estimates for smaller units in the sample.
Sampling errors are defined as the uncertainty that arises from producing the figures on the basis of a sample of units as opposed to the entire population. Sampling errors thus measure the expected deviation between the sample and what the result would have been if the entire population was included in the survey.
The variables included in the preliminary figures are based on a full census count. Sampling errors are therefore not relevant in this regard.
Several administrative registers are central to the work involved in producing statistics. The Register of Establishments and Enterprises is used both to define the population and to obtain identifiers and data. The Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities at Brønnøysund, the VAT Register and ‘a-ordningen’ are used to obtain data on the units. This provides the basis for two types of registry errors that can affect the uncertainty of the statistics.
The most common errors are due to delays in registration. Such delays may be due to late reporting to the registers or the fact that changes are normally registered some time after they occur. The consequence is that the registers are not fully up-to-date at all times, which can, for example, lead to a bias in the sample or that the statistics are based on outdated information.
Identifiers such as industry code etc. in the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises are also used when the sample is drawn. The quality of these identifiers will be crucial to the breakdown of the population into appropriate levels, and will therefore affect the quality of the basis from which the sample is drawn.
The Structural Business Statistics is an annual statistics, for which both preliminary and final figures are published.
Preliminary figures are published approximately 10 months after the end of the statistical year. The only variables included in these figures are number of enterprises, turnover and employment. The statistical unit is ‘enterprise’.
Final figures are normally published 16 months after the end of the reference year. The figures replace the preliminary figures for the statistical year, and also include far more variables. Figures for enterprises as well as LKAUs are included.