The publication gives a comprehensive picture of the structure, development and characteristics of the European business economy and its different activities. It presents the statistics from a wide selection of statistical sources describing for each activity: production and employment; country specialisation and regional distribution; cost structure, productivity and profitability; the importance of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs); labour force characteristics; external trade, and more.
The publication covers the 'business economy', which is the sum of industry, construction and services (NACE Sections C to K). It does not cover agriculture, forestry and fishing, nor the public administration and largely non-market services such as education and health. The business economy is divided into 23 main sectors, which are analysed in detail in separate chapters. The first chapter provides a general overview of the EU's business economy, with comparisons across the main sectors. In addition, it provides information of a horizontal nature, such as data on research and development, business demography, or the importance of foreign controlled enterprises. Following the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, data for the 27 Member States are now consistently being presented, with the EU-27 total as benchmark. This edition of European business also continues the efforts made in recent years to focus increasingly on official statistics, and to broaden and deepen the analysis as the European statistical system continues to make advances. This edition includes, where available, data at the most detailed activity level (NACE four digit or class level) and to facilitate further comparisons across the different activities of the business economy (chapters and subchapters).