Enterprise deaths

In 2019, a total of 33 118 enterprises with 50 203 employed persons were closed down. Measured by the number of active enterprises this equals to an enterprise death rate of 5.7%. Compared to 2018 (6.2%), the death rate slightly decreased.

In terms of the effect on employment, an average of 1.5 jobs (for self-employed persons and employees) was affected per enterprise death. The highest average number of employed persons affected by enterprise deaths was recorded in the economic activities “Accommodation and food service activities” (2.5) and “Transportation and storage” (2,4) and “Construction” (2.1).

Analyzing the death rates 2019 by different economic branches it can be revealed that it was higher (6.6%) in the services sector (sections G-S, NACE Rev.2, excluding 64.2 "Management activities of holding companies" and 64.3 “Trusts and funds”) than in industry and construction (sections B-F; 5.4%). At the level of NACE Rev.2 section, above-average death rates were for example recorded in „Human health and social work activities“ (9.7%), „Transportation and storage” (7.9), „Education“ (7.1%) and „Administrative and support service activities“ (6.6%).

The number of enterprise deaths as a percentage of all active enterprises was below average in the following branches of the services sector: „Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities “(1.8%), “Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply“ (2.1%) or “Real estate activities“ (2.4%).

An examination of enterprise deaths in 2019 by legal forms (grouped) shows that sole proprietorships did have the largest share (81.2%); limited liability companies are in the second place (10.3%) and partnerships (and other legal forms) made up the remaining share (8.4%). Sole proprietorships had the highest death rate (6.5%). The enterprise death rate of partnerships (and other legal forms) amounted to 5.1%, whereas for limited liability companies the rate was lower (3.1%). With regard to the average number of persons employed per enterprise death, the number for sole proprietorships (1.3) is lower compared with that of limited liability companies and of partnerships and other legal forms (each 2.4).

Analysis of enterprise deaths in 2019 by employee size classes show that more than 80% of the enterprises that closed down were in the "0 employees" size group; these enterprises also had the highest death rate (8.0%). 13.8% of deaths were enterprises with between 1 and 4 employees, while enterprises with between 5 and 9 or with 10 or more employees accounted for only 2.2% and 1.0% of all closed enterprises in total.

Among the provinces Burgenland (6.6%), Lower Austria and Vienna (each 6.1%) as well as Styria (5.9%) had higher-than-average death rates in 2019. Very low death rates existed for Tyrol (4.7%), Salzburg (4.8%) and Vorarlberg (5.2%).

The results by gender show that a bit more than half (53.0%) of the sole proprietorships closed down in 2019 were owned by women. The death rate, of enterprises which were founded by women amounted to 8.3% and was therefore higher than the male founders’ closing rate (5.2%).

Development of enterprise deaths over time (2007 to 2019)

In total, enterprise deaths increased by around 34.2% from 2007 to 2019. The number of enterprise deaths was always below that of enterprise births over this period.


Since the production of the statistics for reference year 2013, methodological steps to achieve an approximation with the SBS data are taken.

The numbers of enterprise deaths for the last two reporting years (here: 2018 and 2019) and those for enterprise births, active enterprises and surviving enterprises for the most recent reporting year (here: 2019) are provisional.

The effects of the corona crisis can already be seen in the enterprise death figures for the 2019 reporting year. The method used provides that a unit is counted as a death if no values are available in the following year (i.e. 2020), i.e. enterprises that show no signs of life in 2020 are already considered closed in 2019.

Enterprise deaths 2007-2019 by NACE activity
Enterprise deaths 2007-2019 by legal forms (grouped)
Enterprise deaths 2007-2019 by employee size classes
Enterprise deaths 2007-2019 by provinces
Enterprise deaths 2007-2019 by gender of the sole proprietor
Enterprise deaths 2007-2019 by NUTS3 regions

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