Monthly GDP Estimate: December 2020

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the output of the economy in Scotland. These monthly estimates have been developed to help track the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This publication is designated as experimental official statistics. This means that the statistics are still in development but have been released to enable their use at an early stage. All results are provisional and subject to relatively high levels of uncertainty.

Main Findings

Scotland’s GDP is provisionally estimated to have fallen by 0.3% in December, as restrictions on economic activity continued at the start of the month and were later extended across Scotland after Christmas. The latest result follows a revised fall of 1.5% in November. Output remains 7.2% below the level in February, prior to the direct impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In December there was growth of 0.3% overall in the services sector, but further falls in the subsectors which are directly impacted by the restrictions in Protection Levels 1 to 4 during November and December.

Output in the production sector decreased by 1.8% overall in December, with falls in three of the four subsectors. This includes the first fall in manufacturing output since April, with a drop of 2.4%. Construction sector output is also estimated to have fallen by 2.4%, which is also the first fall since April for this sector.

Using the experimental monthly statistics for Quarter 4 as a whole (October to December), GDP is provisionally estimated to have increased by 1.6% compared to Quarter 3, slowing significantly from the 15.8% increase in Quarter 3. In annual terms, comparing 2020 as a whole to 2019, GDP is provisionally estimated to have fallen by 10.6%.

The Quarterly GDP First Estimate for Quarter 3 (national statistics) will be published on 17 March. The results for October to December, and 2020 as a whole, will be revised when more detailed and comprehensive data are available at that time.

Further information can be found in the full publication and results tables downloads.

Important Information About This Release

These results are provisional and likely to be revised in the coming months as data sources are updated and methods are further improved.

Estimates of monthly GDP growth are inherently more volatile than quarterly or annual growth. In normal times it would be sensible to concentrate on the smoother rolling quarterly growth rate (latest three months compared to previous three months). However, due to the exceptional economic circumstances at this time, results in this release are mostly presented in terms of monthly growth rates, or the cumulative change compared to February. 

Tables: Monthly GDP by Industry
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