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Firm size from status

Firm size from status

Firm size can also be calculated by dividing the count of all employers by the count of all workforces. An 'employment status' question used in the censuses 1891-1911 (and used in modern censuses) gives this information, and BBCE supplements the census responses 1851-81 to give estimates of the equivalent calculations in earlier years. This count of 'firm size from status' is given in the Atlas. It can be used as a reasonably accurate guide for totals, but has limitations for sectors because it is difficult or impossible to attribute all workers to the correct industry. The maps must therefore be used as only approximate guides.

The atlas shows that the geography of entrepreneurship changed markedly. The Age of Entrepreneurship Chapter 9 shows that the share of entrepreneurs steadily increased in the main urban centres. Using 'firm size from status' we can see that by 1901-11, at the peak of entrepreneurship rates, many seaside and inland resorts had also expanded rapidly, and there was greater spread of entrepreneurship through suburbanisation and growth of medium-sized towns. The urban structure was taking new forms. In contrast, entrepreneur numbers and firm size in most rural and peripheral areas had decreased relatively, and in many cases absolutely.

The geography of firm size also changed markedly over time. Average firm size over 1851-81 grew most markedly in urban areas, especially textiles in the North West and Yorkshire, metals and mining in the Midlands, and hosiery and in the South East Midlands.

The Age of Entrepreneurship Chapter 5 examines the different definitions of 'firm size declared' and 'firm size from status'. Most sectors have very similar estimates from both calculations. The major exceptions are mining and transport, where the declared workforce under-estimates firm size when calculated from status. This is due to the number of large incorporated businesses in these two sectors which only partially responded in the census.