Scots GDP rises in May after March-April slump

Scotland’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 1.5% in May — after falls of 18.9% in April and 5.5% in March — according to statistics announced on Friday by the Chief Statistician.

Although output picked up slightly in May, it remains 22.1% below the level in February, before the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the second release of new monthly GDP statistics for Scotland.

The statistics have been produced by the Scottish Government to help track the economic impact of COVID-19 and they are considered “experimental” statistics.

After output fell in nearly every industry during April, the results for May were more mixed.

Some parts of the economy are estimated to have seen a pick-up in activity as firms and consumers adapted to physical distancing and some people returned to work.

However, other industries across the services sector experienced further falls in output.

The industries with the largest falls in output over the latest three months are those required to close or where working from home is not possible. 

GDP growth in these statistics relate to Scotland’s onshore economy, which means they do not include the output of offshore oil and gas extraction.

Leading Scottish think tank Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) said of the statistics: “In the coming months, GDP is likely to rise sharply as businesses re-start.

“But job losses are also likely to rise sharply too.

“It’ll only be after 12 months or so before we get a clear picture of the scale of the recession and the potential implications for the Scottish economy over the long-term.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.