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Businesses in Herefordshire: size and industry

The following summary looks at the population of businesses in Herefordshire, including it’s characteristics in terms of size (employee number) and industry.  Please see business demography page for information about start-up and closures and survival rates.

The most detailed counts of business come from UK business counts data set, which is based on an extract compiled from the Inter Departmental Business Register (IDBR).  Businesses are either counted at an enterprise or local unit level:

  •  An enterprise can be thought of as the overall business, made up of all the individual sites or workplaces. It is defined as the smallest combination of legal units (generally based on VAT and/or PAYE records) that has a certain degree of autonomy within an enterprise group. 

  • A local unit is an individual site (for example a factory or shop) associated with an enterprise. It can also be referred to as a workplace.  Most businesses will only be counted once as an enterprise and once as a local unit i.e. they operate from a single site.

    According to the latest published data:
  • In 2018, Herefordshire’s total enterprise count mounted up to a total of 10,130. In line with regional and national levels, the majority (90 per cent) of these were ‘micro’ enterprises employing 9 or fewer employees whilst 9 per cent were ‘small’ (employing 10 to 49 people), and 1.4 per cent were ‘medium’ size enterprises employing 50 to 249 employees. The enterprises classified as ‘large’ (employing 250 employees or more) accounted for a very small percentage (0.1 per cent) in Herefordshire.

  • In Herefordshire, there are 11,460 local units, 1,325 more local units than enterprises. Similar to the regional and national picture, more local units employ less people. In Herefordshire, 86% of local units are categorised as ‘micro’ employing 9 or less people, the majority of which have 0 to 4 employees (73%).

 Figure 1: Number of enterprises and local units by size (employee number) 2018.

 Local units by size 2018- Table

Source: Office for National Statistics

 Business by industry and legal status

  • ‘Agriculture, forestry and fishing’ was the largest industry with 2,415 businesses, accounted for 24 per cent of total businesses in Herefordshire, followed by ‘Construction’ and ‘Professional, technical activities’ (11 per cent by each). These industries were largely made up of ‘micro’ businesses where nine or less number of people employed (Figure 2).

  • ‘Agriculture, forestry & fishing’, ‘Business administration & support services’, ‘Manufacturing’ and ‘Education’ were the only industries to have large businesses employing 250 or more people whilst medium sized businesses (50-249 employees) were dominated in ‘Education’ and ‘Manufacturing  industries. 

  • The industries that represented the least number of businesses in Herefordshire were ‘Mining, quarrying and utilities’, ‘Financial and insurance’ and ‘Public administration and defence’ (a total of three per cent of all businesses).

Figure 2: Proportion of businesses (local units) in Herefordshire by
                employment size band and industry 2018

Local enterprises by size and industry 2018

Source: Office for National Statistics

  • As might be expected public sector organisations are generally medium or larger in size than private sector organisations (see figure 3 below). 
  • 92 per cent of enterprises in Herefordshire has an annual turnover less than £1,000 (thousand), 7 per cent has £1,000-£4,999 (thousand) and 2 per cent an annual turnover of £5,000 (thousand) and over.
  • 44 per cent of the enterprises that had an annual turnover of £5,000 (thousand) and over were ‘Agriculture, forestry and fishing’ (26 per cent) or ‘Manufacturing’ (18 per cent) industries.


Figure 3: Proportion of businesses (local units) in Herefordshire by 
                employment size band and legal status 2018


Local units by size and legal status 2018

Source: Office for National Statistics 

Last updated: Monday, January 14, 2019