by Jim Tomlinson

 Key Facts

  • Scottish industrial employment fell from more than 40% in 1954 to less than 10% in 2014 (Figure 2.1). 

  • However, Scottish GDP per head more than doubled in real terms between 1955 and 2013 (Figure 2.2).

  •  In 2008/9 prices, UK public expenditure rose from £195 billion in 1970/71 to £565 billion in 2008/9.

  •  Public spending per head in Scotland has exceeded that of the UK as a whole by a margin usually calculated between 15% and 20%.

  •  In 2009 there were 788,000 in public sector employment and 604,000 in 1998 but these figures may be as much as 25% higher if we recognize publically funded employment too.

  •  Between 1954 and 1974 there were no serious economic downturns, but in the following forty years there were four recessions.

For the full chapter, please see: Tomlinson, J. (2017) Key Historical Trends in the Scottish Economy. In Gibb, K., Maclennan, D., McNulty, K., & Comerford, M. (eds) Scottish Economy - A Living Book. London: Routledge. Available via this link. 


Figure 2.1: Percentage of Labour Force in Industrial Employment
- Digest of Economic Statistics Vol. 3, 1955; Vol. 28, 1965; Scottish Economic Statistics Vol. 9, 2008; 2014


Figure 2.2: GDP Per Head (1995 Prices)
- GDP figures from Gibson et al. 1997. Figures for 2013 estimated from GVA data taken from here


Fig 2.3 Unemployment (Claimant Count)

- All data comes from ONS's Labour Market Statistics time series dataset

Figure 2.4: Public Sector Employment in Scotland
- Data comes from Census of Scotland (decennial); ONS databank and the Scottish Government's Labour Market page


Fig 2.5: Women's Employment (Scotland)

- All Data comes from the Census of Scotland (decennial); ONS databank