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Scottish economic statistics

View over Glasgow city centre rooftops looking north

Scottish economic statistics

Latest facts on the Scottish economy including information on employment levels, industry sectors, business growth, levels of innovation and exports. Published October 2019.

5,438,100 Population

£180.4bn GDP

£33,200 GDP per person

74.3% Employment rate (16-64)*

4.1% Unemployment rate (16+)*

£578 Average gross weekly full time wage

*Scotland's Labour Market Statistics, Jun-Aug 2019

Top 5 employment sectors in Scotland

Top 5 employment sectors in Scotland (000's)

Chart showing top 5 employment sectors in Scotland (000's).

Financial and business services sector employs 247,000 people in Scotland, making it the top sector for employment.

Population by Scottish cities

Scotland's cities

Council area

City region

Aberdeen city

227,560

489,030

Dundee city

148,750

787,990*

Edinburgh city

518,500

1,384,950

Glasgow city

626,410

1,838,180

Inverness (Highland)

235,540

235,540

Perth and Kinross

151,290

151,290*

Stirling

94,330

145,730

Table showing population numbers by Scottish city. Glasgow is Scotland's largest city region by population with 1,838,180 people. Based on City Region Deal partnership areas. *Part for Tay Cities Region Partnership.

Businesses in Scotland

In 2018 there were 345,915 private sector enterprises in Scotland.

343,535 were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) providing 1.2 million jobs.

The two largest sectors were professional, scientific and technical activities (48,155 enterprises) and construction (47,500 enterprises), together accounting for 27.7% of all private sector enterprises.

Scottish industry facts by sector:

Innovation and productivity

Scottish Business Enterprise R&D expenditure (BERD) in 2017 was £1,247 billion (a record high), representing 5.3% of the UK total.

  • Manufacturing (£594 million) and services (£560 million) account for the largest R&D spend
  • Scottish businesses employed 13,178 R&D staff in 2016

Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) in Scotland was £2,529 million 2017, 8.3% higher than 2016.

Scotland's GERD in 2017 represented 1.63% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), just below that of the UK (1.69%), the EU (1.96%) and OECD (2.37%).

Labour productivity grew by 0.4% over Q1 2019 (following a +0.2% growth the previous quarter), and was 1.1% higher than the same quarter last year.

Bright Ascension founder director Peter Mendham (correct), with a satellite launch control board.
Brewer at the Innis & Gunn Brewery, Perthshire

Scottish exports

Scotland's international exports (excluding oil and gas) increased in 2017 by £1.9 billion (6.2%) to £32.4 billion

Exports to the rest of the UK also increased, up £2.2 billion (4.6%) to £48.9 billion

Total international and rest of the UK exports (excluding oil and gas) were £81.4 billion, up £4.1 billion (5.2%) from the previous year.

Scotland's top export industries (£billion)

Food and drink

Food and drink
5.9

Whisky

of which whisky
4.4

Professional services

Professional services
3.7

 

 

Petroleum and chemicals

Petroleum and chemicals
3.5

 

Mining and quarrying

Mining and quarrying
1.9

Wholesale and retail

Wholesale and retail
1.9

Scotland's international exports by region

Scottish international exports by region (£bn)

Graphic map showing Scotland's international exports by region (£bn) supplied by the Scottish Government.

The EU is Scotland's biggest export market worth £14.9bn, followed by North America £6.1bn, Asia £3.5bn, Rest of Europe (£2.5bn), Middle East £1.8bn, Central and South America £1.5bn, Africa £1.4bn and Australasia £0.8bn.

Scotland's top export destinations (£billion)

United States flag

USA
5.5

Netherlands flag

Netherlands
2.5

France flag

France
2.4

Germany flag

Germany
2.3

Ireland flag

Ireland
1.5

Disclaimer

We release Scottish economic statistics twice a year, April and October. This commentary reflects our understanding of issues at the time of writing drawn from a wide range of credible and respected sources and should not be taken as Scottish Enterprise policy. 

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