Sewerage statistics - NACE Rev. 2
From Statistics Explained
- Data from April 2013. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.
This article presents an overview of statistics for the sewerage sector in the European Union (EU), as covered by NACE Rev. 2 Division 37. Sewerage and water supply are strongly related, with many enterprises offering both water supply and wastewater services, where sometimes the fees paid by users for water supply include the service of treating the resulting wastewater.
Main statistical findings
There were 119 thousand enterprises operating with sewerage (Division 37) as their main activity in the EU-27 in 2010. Together they employed 139.1 thousand persons and generated EUR 13.9 billion of value added. This relatively small sector employed 0.1 % of the total number of persons employed in the non-financial business economy (Sections B to J and L to N and Division 95) and contributed 0.2 % of its total value added. Its share within water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (Section E) was 10.5 % in employment terms and 16.2 % in value added terms.
The apparent labour productivity of the EU-27’s sewerage sector in 2010 was EUR 100.2 thousand per person employed, more than double the non-financial business economy average of EUR 44.8 thousand per person employed and also well above the water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities average (EUR 64.9 thousand per person employed). Despite this high apparent labour productivity, average personnel costs within the EU-27’s sewerage sector were only slightly elevated, at EUR 36.2 thousand per employee compared with a EUR 30.9 thousand per employee average for the non-financial business economy and a EUR 31.8 thousand per employee average for water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities. As a result, the sewerage sector posted a wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio of 276.7 %, which was the seventh highest for any NACE division within the EU-27’s non-financial business economy in 2010, and far above the non-financial business economy average (144.8 %) as well as being above the water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities average (200.0 %).
The gross operating rate (the relation between the gross operating surplus and turnover) stood at 38.9 % for the EU-27’s sewerage sector in 2010, nearly four times as high as the average for the non-financial business economy (10.1 %) and close to double the water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities average (20.6 %). This was the third highest level of profitability (according to this measure) among any of the NACE divisions within the EU-27’s non-financial business economy, lower only than the rates recorded for real estate activities (Division 68) and rental and leasing activities (Division 77). It should be noted that this measure does not take account of depreciation or financial expenditure, which are typically higher in capital-intensive activities such as sewerage.
In employment terms, Germany recorded the highest share (27.9 %) of the EU-27 workforce within the sewerage sector in 2010, slightly ahead of Poland (24.0 %); France had the third largest workforce with a 10.1 % share. The relative importance of the sewerage sector was highest in Poland, as it employed 0.4 % of the Polish non-financial business economy workforce in 2010, around 3.8 times the average for the EU-27. The next most specialised Member States (in employment terms) were Latvia (0.3 % of non-financial business economy employment), Cyprus and Germany (both 0.2 %). Poland and Cyprus were the most specialised in value added terms, with 0.6 % of their non-financial business economy value added stemming from this sector, followed by Denmark (0.5 %) and Latvia (0.3 %); note that value added data is not available for Germany. Poland’s 6.9 % share of EU-27 value added in the sewerage sector and Denmark’s 4.1 % share were the second highest shares in 2010 for these two Member States among all non-financial business economy NACE divisions.
The high wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio recorded for the EU-27 in the sewerage sector in 2010 was pulled up by very high ratios in Denmark (448.2 %), the United Kingdom (399.3 %), Cyprus (333.2 %) and Austria (322.6 %): in each case these were the third highest wage-adjusted labour productivity ratios recorded in these Member States in 2010 across any of the NACE divisions within the non-financial business economy.
A similar situation was observed for the gross operating rate, where several Member States recorded particularly high rates in the sewerage sector: for Latvia, the 44.3 % rate was its highest rate across all non-financial business economy NACE divisions in 2010; for Cyprus, Austria, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom, gross operating rates for this sector were the second highest of all divisions; for Denmark and Hungary, the latest rates were the third highest among all divisions. Most of the EU Member States recorded gross operating rates for the sewerage sector that were above their non-financial business economy averages in 2010, the exceptions (subject to data availability) were Ireland and the Netherlands; Croatia also recorded a gross operating rate in the sewerage sector that was below its non-financial business economy average.
Size class analysis
The enterprise size structure of the EU-27 sewerage sector was relatively balanced in employment terms, with shares of the workforce in 2010 ranging from 15.5 % for micro enterprises (with fewer than 10 persons employed) to 32.2 % for large enterprises (employing 250 or more persons). By contrast, the higher apparent labour productivity of large enterprises (EUR 139.2 thousand per person employed) resulted in these enterprises contributing a much bigger share (44.6 %) of sectoral value added. Overall, the contribution of large enterprises was broadly in line with non-financial business economy averages, which were 44.4 % of value added and 32.0 % of employment.
Among the EU Member States for which data are available, only in Germany and Belgium (2009 data) did large enterprises employ more than half the workforce in the sewerage sector in 2010. By contrast, medium-sized enterprises (employing 50 to 249 persons) employed three fifths or more of the workforce in Portugal, Latvia and Sweden. The share of the sewerage sector’s workforce employed in micro enterprises reached close to a half in Finland (47.7 %) and Austria (49.4 %).
Data sources and availability
The analysis presented in this article is based on the main dataset for structural business statistics (SBS) and size class data, all of which are published annually.
The main series provides information for each EU Member State as well as a number of non-member countries at a detailed level according to the activity classification NACE. Data are available for a wide range of variables.
In structural business statistics, size classes are generally defined by the number of persons employed. A limited set of the standard structural business statistics variables (for example, the number of enterprises, turnover, persons employed and value added) are analysed by size class, mostly down to the three-digit (group) level of NACE. The main size classes used in this article for presenting the results are:
- small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): with 1 to 249 persons employed, further divided into;
- micro enterprises: with less than 10 persons employed;
- small enterprises: with 10 to 49 persons employed;
- medium-sized enterprises: with 50 to 249 persons employed;
- large enterprises: with 250 or more persons employed.
This article presents an overview of statistics for the sewerage sector in the EU, as covered by NACE Rev. 2 Division 37. This division includes the operation of sewer systems or sewage treatment facilities, the collecting and transporting of human or industrial wastewater from one or several users (as well as the collection of rain water) by means of sewerage networks, collectors, tanks and other means of transport (sewage vehicles and so on). Also included are the emptying and cleaning of cesspools and septic tanks, sinks and pits from sewage; the servicing of chemical toilets, treatment of wastewater by means of physical, chemical and biological processes like dilution, screening, filtering, sedimentation and so on, maintenance and the cleaning of sewers and drains.
This division contains one group and one class only and so there is no analysis of subsectors in this article.
The decontamination of surface water and groundwater at the place of pollution (part of remediation and other waste management services, Division 39) is excluded.
Further Eurostat information
- European business - facts and figures (online publication)
- Key figures on European Business – with a special feature section on SMEs – 2011 edition
- SBS - industry and construction (sbs_ind_co)
- Annual detailed enterprise statistics - industry and construction (sbs_na_ind)
- Annual detailed enterprise statistics for industry (NACE Rev.2 B-E) (sbs_na_ind_r2)
- Preliminary results on industry and construction, main indicators (NACE Rev.2) (sbs_na_r2preli)
- SMEs - Annual enterprise statistics broken down by size classes - industry and construction (sbs_sc_ind)
- Industry broken down by employment size classes (NACE Rev.2 B-E) (sbs_sc_ind_r2)
- Annual detailed enterprise statistics - industry and construction (sbs_na_ind)
- SBS - regional data - all activities (sbs_r)
- SBS data by NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev.2, from 2008 onwards (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)
Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)
- Decision 1578/2007/EC of 11 December 2007 on the Community Statistical Programme 2008 to 2012
- Regulation 295/2008 of 11 March 2008 concerning structural business statistics