Scotland's Economy

Scottish economy outperforms UK as Scottish unemployment hits record low

Scotland’s economic growth rate increased from 1.6% to 1.7% in 2018, which is faster than any UK region outside London over the same period, according to an analysis by the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE). At the same time, unemployment in Scotland hit a new record low of 3.5%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

2018 growth rates UK

According to the analysis of the ESCoE, which provides estimates of regional economic growth, Scotland’s economic growth in 2018 bucked the UK slowdown trend. Economic growth across the UK as a whole decreased from 1.8% to 1.4% over the same period.


Meanwhile, the ONS’s figures show that unemployment fell by 10,000 in Scotland to 96,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018. The number of people employed in Scotland reached a record high, at 2,685,000, with the employment rate for those of working age as well as for women rising to 75.5% and 71.8% respectively. In comparison, the UK’s unemployment rate now stands at 4%; unemployment fell in the fourth quarter of 2018 by 14,000 to 1.36 million.

This is very positive news for the Scottish economy and demonstrates a remarkable resilience in the face of Brexit uncertainty that other parts of the UK have not matched. Brexit continues to be the single largest threat to the Scottish Economy, especially given Scotland’s need for highly skilled EU workers and our growing exports to the EU.

It remains to be seen what the result of Brexit negotiations is going to be as it will be crucial for the economy of Scotland and the UK as a whole. Nevertheless, as the following figures show, regional variations play an important role in understanding economic growth in the UK.

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Sotirios Frantzanas

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