PHILIPSBURG–Of 5,438 companies registered with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) this year, 2,910 are operational while 813 could not be reached or located, it emerged from the Economic Census Survey (ECS) conducted by the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications’ Department of Statistics STAT from May 2 to September 7, 2018.
An economic census involves a count of all economic units actively operating within an economic territory, as well as gathering data on their main characteristics.
Based on COCI information there were almost 5,500 registered companies this year. Part of the survey’s objective was to verify how many are actively operating.
Originally scheduled to be completed within 12 weeks, the census was extended to give more time to verify the invisible, micro entities which are registered but not necessarily operating from an openly visible location. In this extended period, supplementary data were used with the assistance of social health insurer SZV and the Business Licenses Department, according to STAT.
The scope of the census was 5,875 establishments, based on business establishments and foundations from STAT’s business mapping and additional sources.
Of these businesses, 2,152 were inactive, while 813 could not be reached or located. STAT established that 2,910 entities are operational and received information from almost 2,800 of these actively operating entities.
Wholesale and retail trade is the largest industry in St. Maarten in terms of numbers (830) and share (29.8 per cent) of establishments, with accommodation and food services being the second largest industry.
Almost one-third of entities (886) is concentrated in the Philipsburg area with the next largest concentration found in Cole Bay with 549.
The number of employees at the time of the census was 17,994, of whom 8,911 were women. The number of employees before the September 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria totalled 18,175.
The 17,994 employees, however, include persons employed by establishments opened after the passing of the hurricanes, STAT said. These account for 842 employees, with 419 women among them.
The total of new entities deviates from COCI’s total as the census only took into account whether the entity is active or not. Entities that register at the Chamber still have to register at the Tax Office, Business Licenses and SZV offices before they begin their active operations, STAT said.
The legal form of the new entities is almost evenly matched between NVs (28.4 per cent) and sole proprietorships (26.1 per cent). The legal form with the highest percentage is B.V. with 40 per cent.
Overall, NVs account for 61.3 per cent while sole proprietorships and BVs follow with 15.5 per cent and 11.8 per cent, respectively.
In the 1998 Business Census report, the size of an entity was determined by its number of employees along with its turnover. The 2018 census, however, did not ask for financial information, as this proved difficult to acquire during the pilot-phase of the survey.
STAT said it is confident, however, that this aspect can be reintroduced in follow-up censuses of this kind.
The majority of businesses (approximately 80 per cent) have five employees or less. Businesses with more than 50 employees account for just 2.4 per cent of the total number of businesses. In absolute terms, however, these employ 7,479 employees, which is equal to about 42 per cent of the workforce.
Entities that have 11 to 50 employees, employ 4,362 employees in total or 24.2 per cent of the workforce. Entities that have six to 10 employees employ 2,217 employees, while entities that have five or fewer workers employ 3,936 employees. STAT is to make a full report available by the end of November.