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Quarterly GDP methodology

What GDP statistics are available for Scotland?

Scotland's Gross Domestic Product is published quarterly (every three months) and reports the changes in the output of the economy. The main results are 'real terms' growth for the Scottish economy and industries within it. 'Real terms', also referred to as a volume measure, means that the figures take into account the effect of inflation and allow for meaningful comparisons over time. Estimates are also seasonally adjusted to help with interpreting short term movements.

In addition, estimates of the cash value of GDP are published in Quarterly National Accounts Scotland, which is released 4-6 weeks after the initial GDP growth publication. Quarterly National Accounts also includes breakdowns of GDP calculated using the income and expenditure approaches, as well as output, along with other economic indicators. 

Scottish and UK National Accounts are produced in line with the European System of Accounts (ESA) 2010. Comparable statistics for the UK included in the GDP release are produced by ONS. Any UK figures quoted in the Scottish Government publications are taken from the latest ONS Quarterly National Accounts release.

Understanding GDP

Gross domestic product (GDP) is arguably the best-known indicator of economic activity. The UN System of National Accounts sets out a methodology for GDP which allows it to be estimated in a consistent way across the world to allow international comparisons. Additionally it is used to monitor economic performance - the ‘health’ of the economy.

The following methodology note relates to the Scotland’s Gross Domestic Product publication. This publication deals with short-term volume change in the economy. Estimates of the monetary value of GDP are published in Quarterly National Accounts Scotland.

GDP in Scotland - Methodology Guide

GDP Sources Catalogue (Excel)


In order to maintain the accuracy of our GDP estimates and to ensure our figures continue to be comparable to other countries we regularly make revisions to our data. We publish Scottish GDP figures four times a year. For most publications revisions will tend to be minor (usually to include improved data sources or new data). Our July GDP publication or August Quarterly National Accounts usually coincide with the publication of the Scottish Supply & Use Tables. We take this opportunity each year to implement any methodological improvements to the Scottish estimates. Revisions also occur as a result of another major publication - the UK Blue Book - which is published each year in July or October.