Monthly GDP Estimate: March 2021

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics measure 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 onshore GDP is estimated to have increased by 2.1% in March, with growth in many sectors of the economy despite the ongoing restrictions for some customer-facing services.

Output remains 5.4% below pre-pandemic levels in February 2020, and is 0.9% below the recent high point in October before restrictions were imposed over the winter months.

In March there was growth in each of the production, construction and services sectors, but output remained relatively subdued in many sectors while restrictions continued. Overall output in the services sector grew by 1.6%, with the largest contribution coming from the education subsector for the second month in a row due to the phased return to in-school learning during February and March.

Output in the production sector increased by 3.0% in March, including 1.9% growth in the manufacturing subsector. Output in the construction sector is estimated to have increased by 5.7%.

Using the experimental monthly statistics for Quarter 1 as a whole (January to March), GDP is provisionally estimated to have fallen by 2.1% compared to Quarter 4, reflecting the impact of the second lockdown in place since the end of 2020.

The Quarterly GDP First Estimate for Quarter 1 (national statistics) will be published on 16 June. The results for January to March will be revised when more detailed and comprehensive data are available at that time.

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, at this time, results in this release are mostly presented in terms of monthly growth rates, or the cumulative change compared to pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

All results are seasonally adjusted and presented in real terms (adjusted to remove inflation), and relate to Scotland’s onshore economy (which does not include offshore oil and gas extraction).

Further information, including results for detailed industry sectors, can be found in the full publication and results tables downloads.

Monthly GDP: February 2021 - Publication
Monthly GDP: March 2021 - Tables
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