All regions in the UK saw an increase in the number of companies in 2011, but the return to recession in 2012 means businesses still face a turbulent time ahead, according to a new report.
Analysis of more than five million firms between 2007 and 2011 by company information specialist Duedil, released on Thursday, showed 2009 scored a record high for the number of company closures, peaking at more than 492,000, compared with 312,000 in 2008, the second highest year.
Northern England suffered the worst, with 10 of the 20 worst affected cities in the UK since 2008 located in the North West and Yorkshire regions, based on percentage drop in the number of active businesses.
Leeds, Warrington, Bradford, Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol all suffered heavy losses in the size of the business population.
More positively, some of the regions which saw large falls in the number of businesses opening bounced back in 2011 and are now in the top 20 growth towns - these include Blackpool (where its business community contracted to -2.63 per cent drop in 2009 but rose by 11.56 per cent in 2011), Lincoln (-5.43 per cent in 2009, 11.66 per cent in 2011) and Middlesborough (-1.44 per cent in 2011 and 9.32 per cent in 2011).
The best performing locations were Durham, Guernsey and Jersey in terms of size of business community. These three locations were the only ones with high growth, in terms of new businesses, during the peak of the recession.
When looking at industry sectors, manufacturing and heavy industry was hit the hardest, contracting in overall size by over 4 per cent in 2009 after eight consecutive years of growth.
"All industries recovered in 2010, except forHuman Resources which shrunk by 7.5 per cent, suggesting a latent exposure to the effects of the recession and that continuing high unemployment numbers are placing enormous pressure on the industry," said the report.
Infographic showing key highlights of the report
Video showing a heatmap of the worst hit areas during the recession