The latest Scottish economic output figures show ongoing distress across manufacturing and that public services, particularly health activity, have not yet recovered from Covid. The most recent figures for gross domestic product (GDP) go up to the second quarter of 2023 and allow for a review of what has happened since the end of ‘normality’ in 2020, as well as how Scotland’s economy has recovered compared to the UK as a whole.

The relatively poor performance across manufacturing applies relative to other Scottish output sectors and to the UK. While output in this sector is still ten per cent below its 2019 level for Scotland, for the UK it is seven per cent higher. The problem straddles most of manufacturing, with the exclusion of the food and drink, and textiles sub-sectors. It is particularly noticeable how much lower the output of the petroleum and pharmaceuticals sub-sector is, down almost a quarter on 2019. This may be connected to the long-term decline of North Sea operations and activity.

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