KfW SME Panel
Report: KfW SME Panel 2017
Germany’s SMEs continue to break records – sectoral transformation poses new challenge
German SMEs presented themselves in top shape in 2016. As employers they are more important than ever, and their workforce has reached an unprecedented level. Sectoral structural transformation is making a clear imprint on SMEs, with most employment growth taking place in service industries in the past years. Germany’s transition to a service society, however, is slowing down productivity advances in the SME sector. Nevertheless, enterprises are growing at a fast pace, returns and profitability are good, and equity ratios are on record levels. Investments are also growing strongly again and the favourable financing environment has nurtured this trend. The signs remain promising. Strong domestic demand promises sustained high growth, a new employment record is foreseeable, and signs of stronger growth in corporate investment are emerging.
The KfW SME Panel (KfW-Mittelstandspanel) is the first and so far only representative longitudinal data set covering all small and medium‑sized enterprises in Germany. A unique feature of the dataset is that it even allows calculations for micro enterprises with fewer than five employees. The data of the KfW SME Panel are collected via a repeat written survey of small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany with an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 500 million. According to this definition, there are almost 3.6 million SMEs in Germany. The different waves of the KfW SME Panel contain between 9,000 and 15,000 observations and include information on firms' investment and innovation activities as well as firm characteristics, such as the number of employees and sales for the current and the previous year, share of skilled employees, industry and finance.
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