BuildingWe receive a number of enquiries through our research enquiries service. One of the most frequently asked questions is “how many businesses are there in the West Midlands?”

The Inter Departmental Business Register (IDBR) is a key source of information on business activity and can be broken down to Local Authority District level.  It is updated annually, containing data on VAT traders and PAYE employers in a statistical register comprising of 2.1 million businesses.  Data can also be broken down by size of business in terms of the number of employees, or amount of turnover generated and by sector.

Another important source of business data that helps us with this enquiry is the Annual Business Inquiry, which is conducted in two parts: one dealing with employment, the other with financial information.  The Observatory regularly uses the employment part of the survey, which is broken down by employee and workplace analysis and is available via nomis.  This provides survey based data on the number of businesses and people employed by sector, but a licence is needed to access it.

And so, as you may have worked out from the title of this post, according to IDBR, the answer is around 176,550!

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