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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 2018 was £1,356 million, representing 5.4% of the UK total.

  • Professional, scientific and technical activities (£462 million) and manufacturing (£361 million) account for the largest R&D spend
  • Scottish businesses employed 14,747 R&D staff in 2018

Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) in Scotland was £2,706 million 2018, 4.4% higher than 2017.

Scotland's GERD in 2018 represented 1.65% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), just below that of the UK (1.71%), the EU (2.03%) and OECD (2.38%).

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

Professional services

Professional services
3.4

 

 

Petroleum and chemicals

Petroleum and chemicals
4.0

 

Mining and quarrying

Mining and quarrying
1.9

Wholesale and retail

Wholesale and retail
1.2

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

Ireland 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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