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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 January 2021.

5,463,300 Population

£166.8bn GDP

£30,530 GDP per person

74.8% Employment rate (16-64)*

4.2% Unemployment rate (16+)*

£595 Median gross weekly full-time wage

*Scotland's Labour Market Statistics, Aug-Oct 2020

Top 5 employment sectors in Scotland

Top 5 employment sectors in Scotland

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

Human health and social services sector employs 402,000 people in Scotland, making it the top sector for employment. Wholesale and retail employs 345,000; accommodation and food services 214,000, education 205,000; and admin and support services 204,000.

Population by Scottish cities

Scotland's cities

Council area

City region

Aberdeen city

228,670

489,880

Dundee city

149,320

791,020

Edinburgh city

524,930

1,396,150

Glasgow city

633,120

1,845,020

Inverness (Highland)

235,830

235,830

Perth and Kinross

151,950

791,020*

Stirling

94,210

306,210**

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. **Part of Stirling Clacks & Falkirk (Forth Valley) Region.

Businesses in Scotland

In 2020 there were 364,310 private sector enterprises in Scotland.

361,875 were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) providing 1.2 million jobs.

The two largest sectors were professional, scientific and technical activities (48,030 enterprises) and construction (47,715 enterprises), together accounting for 26.3% of all private sector enterprises.

Scottish industry facts by sector:

Education in Scotland

Scotland is home to 19 higher education institutions and universities. Annual investment in further and higher education is £1.9 billion. 118,242 full time education (FTE) college places and 138,686 FTE university places were delivered.

There were 75.2% successful college qualifiers. 20,620 international postgraduate students. University research income is £544 million.

Innovation and productivity

Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) in Scotland was £2,706 million in 2018, this represents an increase of 4.4% in real terms on 2017. Scotland’s GERD in 2018 represented 1.65% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),below that for the UK (1.71%), the EU (2.03%) and the OECD (2.38%)

Labour productivity grew by 0.2% in 2019 Q4 and has increased by 0.8%compared to the same quarter last year. Annual labour productivity increased by 0.5% compared to 2018, following an increase of 3.2% in 2018 and a decrease of 0.6% in 2017.

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 2018 by £1.1 billion (3.4%) to £33.8 billion

Exports to the rest of the UK also increased, up £1.2 billion (2.5%) to £51.2 billion

Total international and rest of the UK exports (excluding oil and gas) were valued at £85.0 billion, up £2.4 billion (2.9%) from the previous year.

Scotland's top export industries (£billion)

Food and drink

Food and drink
6.3

Whisky

of which whisky
4.7

Refined petroleum
4.0

 

 

Professional, scientific, tech
3.4

 

Finance and insurance
2.2

Mining and quarrying

Mining and quarrying
1.9

Scotland's international exports by region

This map shows Scotland's international exports by region (£bn) and is supplied by the Scottish Government.

  • EU - £16.1 billion
  • North America - £6.1billion
  • Asia -  £3.7 billion
  • Rest of Europe  - £2.5 billion
  • Middle East -  £1.6 billion
  • Central and South America -  £1.6 billion
  • Africa -  £1.4 billion
  • Australasia -  £0.8 billion

Scotland's top export destinations (£billion)

United States flag

USA
5.5

France flag

France
3.0
Netherlands flag
Netherlands
2.8

Germany flag

Germany
2.5

Belgium flag

Belgium
1.3

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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