chapter  16
16 Pages



Small and medium-sized enterprises numerically prevail in Sweden’s economy, as is the case of the EU-15 in general. The share of SMEs in the total number of companies and employment is 99.8 per cent and 68.0 per cent, respectively (Table 2.1). The Swedish pattern is, nevertheless, distinct, since the quantitative signifi cance of larger fi rms exceeds the European average. They tend to record a higher level of employment than in most other countries. Their number of occupied persons per enterprise was 1,062 in 2003, as compared to 1,059 in the EU-15 (Observatory 2003). Above all, the big multinational enterprises fi gure prominently in Sweden’s economy. In terms of their relative frequency, Sweden comes second (after the Netherlands) among the EU-15. In 2003 there were 23 Swedish companies in the group of Europe’s 500 largest businesses, recording a total of 910,759 employees across the world. As regards the sectoral composition of this list, the metalworking and engineering sector clearly dominated, with eight companies and a total of 360,652 employees.