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Gross Domestic Product for Scotland, Quarter 4 2008

DescriptionGross Domestic Product for Scotland, Quarter 4 2008
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateApril 22, 2009


For a Portable Document Format (.pdf) version of the results, use the following link:

GDP 2008Q4 PDF


To download the tables in Excel format, use the following link:

GDP 2008Q4 XLS

22 April 2009

Gross Domestic Product in Scotland rose by 0.5 per cent over the year to the end of 2008 Q4 and fell by 1.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008 according to provisional estimates released today by Scotland's Chief Statistician.

The main findings of the latest figures are:

· GDP rose by 0.5 per cent annually and fell by 1.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008 (seasonally adjusted).

· In the year to end-December 2008, the Scottish service sector grew by 1.0 per cent, the production sector fell by 0.5 per cent and the construction sector fell by 1.7 per cent.

· In the fourth quarter of 2008, the service sector fell by 0.8 per cent, the production sector declined by 4.7 per cent and the construction sector fell by 4.7 per cent.

UK Figures:

· The UK figures show that GDP rose by 0.7 per cent in the year to end-December 2008 and fell 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008.

· Over the year, the UK experienced 1.5 per cent growth in services, a 2.7 per cent fall in production and the construction sector grew by 0.3 per cent.

· In the fourth quarter of 2008, the UK service sector fell by 0.8 per cent, the production sector declined by 4.5 per cent and the construction sector declined by 4.9 per cent.

Industry Analysis:

· In the fourth quarter of 2008, the service sector in Scotland fell by 0.8 per cent. Within services, real estate & business services (-1.9%), other services (-3.3%), retail & wholesale (-2.1%) and transport, storage & communication (-2.0%) all declined over the quarter. The financial services sector grew by 2.2 per cent along with modest growth in public administration, education & health (+0.5%).

· Output in the production sector fell by 4.7 per cent in the latest quarter. Within production, manufacturing (-4.6%), electricity, gas & water supply (-6.0%) and mining and quarrying (-2.3%) experienced falls in the latest quarter. Within manufacturing, chemicals & man-made fibres (-12.3%), total other manufacturing (-5.9%), engineering & allied industries (-2.1%), food, drink & tobacco (-3.4%), electrical & instrument engineering (-2.9%), metals & metal products (-3.7%), textiles, footwear, leather & clothing (-8.6%) and transport equipment (-2.8%) fell over the latest quarter. Mechanical engineering showed modest growth of 0.1 per cent.



1. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a measure of the value added to materials and other inputs in the production of goods and services by resident organisations; before allowing for depreciation or capital consumption. Net receipts from interest, profits and dividends abroad are excluded. The estimates produced in this publication measure GDP at basic prices, also referred to as Gross Value Added (GVA).


2. Annual chainlinking is the technique used to compile the overall measure of GDP growth and also the other, lower-level published aggregates. The resultant indices represent changes in the value added, at constant prices, in the production of goods and services in individual industries. These industries are compiled using the standard industrial classification SIC2003.

3. In recent years, it has become the norm for the weights - used to produce the aggregate measures - to be updated each year in the quarter two publication. The Office for National Statistics delayed this process for the UK GDP statistics until their new National Accounts system is fully operational. The latest weights used to produce growth rates for Scotland in this publication continue to relate to the year 2004 whilst the weights used in the UK statistics continue to relate to the calendar year 2003.

Seasonal Adjustment

4. The data used in the production of these quarterly GDP estimates are seasonally adjusted using the X-12-ARIMA technique where appropriate to remove regularly occurring peaks and troughs so that the underlying trends and other features of the data are easier to identify. Further information about the seasonal adjustment of the GDP data can be found in section A3 of Scottish Economic Statistics 2006 ( www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/ses).

Future developments

5. In light of recent merger activity within the banking industry, removal of banking as a separate published series will be considered following consultation with the Scottish Economic Statistics Consultants Group (SESCG) in May 2009.


6. It is hoped that recent development work carried out by the Information Services Division of the NHS Scotland and analysts in the Scottish Government's Health division towards estabilishing a direct measure of health service output will reach fruition and be ready for inclusion in the 2009 Quarter 1 estimates of GDP for Scotland.


7. Series are derived from indicators based on data from a wide range of sources. Examples include: deflated turnover, deflated production, the volume of a good or service sold or produced and, for some parts of the public sector, employee numbers.

8. The quarterly Scottish GDP estimates are published within 4 months (approximately 16 weeks) of the end of the quarter to which they relate.

9. The indices published within this Statistics Publication Notice are grouped according to the 2003 revised Standard Industrial Classification. The four broad groupings of industries are:

(a) agriculture, hunting, forestry & fishing;

(b) production - mining & quarrying industries; energy & water supply; and manufacturing, which includes: refined petroleum products & nuclear fuel; chemicals & man-made fibres; metal & metal products; engineering & allied industries; food, drink & tobacco industries; textiles, footwear, leather & clothing; other manufacturing;

(c) construction;

(d) services - retail & wholesale; hotels & catering; transport, storage & communication; financial services; real estate & business services; public administration, education & health; other services.

10. Scottish GDP estimates will generally be less reliable than the estimates for the UK, primarily because the equivalent UK figures are produced by balancing 3 independent sets of estimates (Output (GVA), Income & Expenditure-based approaches). Furthermore, the survey data tend to be based on smaller numbers of units, making figures for Scotland more likely to be susceptible to statistical variance.

11. The recently launched Scottish National Accounts Project (SNAP) is exploring the feasibility of producing income and expenditure measures of GDP for Scotland. Further information is available using http://www.scotland.gov.uk/SNAP

Cash Estimates of GVA

12. Estimates of the cash value of Gross Value Added (GVA) at current prices for Scotland (and other regions of the UK) are produced by the Office for National Statistics. Estimates for 2007 were published on 12th December 2008. The ONS current price value estimates are methodologically different from the Scottish Government volume (constant price) index and are based on different data sources.


13. Very few statistical revisions arise as a result of 'errors' in the popular sense of the word. All estimates, by definition, are subject to statistical 'error' but in this context the word refers to the uncertainty inherent in any process or calculation that uses sampling, estimation or modelling. Most revisions reflect either the adoption of new statistical techniques, or the incorporation of new information which allows the statistical error of previous estimates to be reduced. Only rarely are there avoidable 'errors' such as human or system failures, and such mistakes are made quite clear when they do occur.

14. The figures in this Statistics Publication Notice incorporate revisions to previously published estimates. Tables 8 - 13 identify the extent of revisions since the last publication in January 2009. Revisions are shown to one decimal place for total GVA and GVA excluding oil & gas. Revisions are shown to zero decimal places for all other sectors.

The series most affected by revisions this quarter are:

· Transport, Storage & Communication - due to revisions to company level data for a small number of companies;

· Other Services - due to revisions to seasonal adjustment factors and the improvement of an existing data source;

· Engineering & Allied Industries - due to revisions to company level data.

· Construction - due to improvements to the underlying data

A number of other series are affected by revisions to a lesser extent. These are mainly due to revisions to input data, deflators and seasonal adjustment factors.

National Statistics

15. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

16. Detailed results for all industries, are available to download from the Scottish Government website www.scotland.gov.uk/gdp.

Issued by

Office of the Chief Economic Adviser

DG Economy

St Andrew's House

Regent Road

Edinburgh, EH1 3DG


Press Office: Tim Jays 0131-244-5122

Statistician: Richard Morrison 0131-244-3768