2016 a record year for Sweden’s small businesses

2016 a record year for Sweden's small businesses
2016 brought record profitability for small businesses in Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
2016 was a record year for Sweden's small businesses, with profitability increasing for a third consecutive year, measured as profit before depreciation.

That's according to consultancy firm LRF Konsult's numbers, released as the results of their new profitability barometer based on the annual accounts of 2,441 companies with 0-15 employees.

2016 showed the highest profitability for small businesses in the five years the firm has examined, with an average of 18.2 percent of revenue as profit.

The best numbers came from businesses in Södermanland and Gotland in the south-east of the country, who reported an average profitability of 23.7 percent.

The biggest increase in profitability was from businesses in Jämtland and Härjedalen in central Sweden meanwhile, where profitability was up by 4.7 percentage points on the previous tax year.

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The consultancy firm noted some concerns however, including decreasing personnel costs, which could be a sign that a small business owner has decided not to take a salary, or is having difficulty recruiting staff in some regions.

Further warning signs that there could be tougher times ahead come in the form of statistics from the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket), which show that the number of new businesses fell by 10.7 percent in January 2017 compared to January 2016.