GDP Quarterly National Accounts: 2023 Quarter 4 (October to December)

An accredited official statistics publication.

This release includes updated estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) for Scotland, along with a range of additional economic statistics which are used for economic forecasting and modelling.

GDP growth in volume terms

Headline quarterly GDP figures

Scotland’s onshore GDP (i.e. excluding offshore oil and gas) is estimated to have fallen by 0.5% during 2023 Quarter 4 (October to December), revised down from the first estimate of a 0.6% fall published on 28 February. The contraction in the latest quarter follows growth of 0.3% during 2023 Quarter 3 (July to September), a fall of 0.2% during Quarter 2 (April to July) and no growth (0.0%) during Quarter 1 (January to March).

Taken over the last 12 months, compared to the same quarter in 2023, Scotland’s GDP has fallen by 0.4%. This has been revised down from the first estimate of a 0.3% fall.

Annual GDP growth and comparisons to pre-pandemic levels

Annual GDP is now estimated to have grown by 0.1% in 2023, revised down from the first estimate of 0.2%. This follows growth of 5.9% in 2022 and 9.2% in 2021, after the fall of 12.0% in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest estimates show that, in 2023 Quarter 4, GDP in Scotland is now 1.0% above the pre-pandemic level in 2019 Quarter 4

Users should continue to be cautious about drawing firm conclusions based on comparisons between Scotland and the UK as a whole, or other countries, which include the periods of time when the economy was most severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This includes the estimate of the latest level of GDP compared to the pre-pandemic level, and the size of changes in GDP during 2020 to 2022 in particular. The estimates of GDP from 2020 onwards are continuing to evolve as more data becomes available, and it is likely that these results will change again in future releases. A recent blog by the National Statistician has re-iterated the challenges of measuring GDP at this time.


Latest results by industry of output

In 2023 Quarter 4, output in the services sector fell by 0.1% compared to the previous quarter, with output falling in nine of the fourteen subsectors. The largest negative contribution to overall growth came from wholesale, retail and motor trades (-1.9%), while the largest positive contribution which partially offset the fall was in professional, scientific and technical services (+3.4%). 

Output in the production sector fell by 3.0% overall, with decreases in two of the four main subsectors, including falls of 3.2% in manufacturing and 5.9% in electricity and gas supply.

Output in the construction sector is estimated to have fallen by 0.9% during Quarter 4.

Estimates of GDP in volume terms for the services and production sectors can be found in the downloadable data tables, including more detailed breakdowns of the manufacturing sector, and estimates of annual GDP growth back to 1963.

Estimates of GDP growth in volume terms based on the expenditure approach to GDP (consumption, government expenditure, investment and trade) are also available in the downloadable data. These figures are currently designated as official statistics in development and are principally published for use by analysts, for example as inputs to economic forecasts.

The Monthly GDP estimates give a more detailed indication of the trends for each industry sector, and include results up to February 2024 at the time of release.



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