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Outlook and appraisal [June 1991]

Love, Jim and Ashcroft, Brian and Brooks, Richard and Dourmashkin, Neil and Draper, Paul and Dunlop, Stewart and Lockyer, Cliff and Malloy, Eleanor and Monaghan, Claire and McGregor, Peter and McNicoll, Iain and McRory, Eric and Perman, Roger and Swales, Kim (1991) Outlook and appraisal [June 1991]. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 16 (4). pp. 1-2. ISSN 0306-7866

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The economic prospects for both Scotland and the UK have clouded somewhat in the last three months. A deeper (although not necessarily longer) recession is now apparent than previously seemed likely, and the evidence suggests that recovery is likely to be slow. The recent publication of Scottish GDP data for 1989 affords an opportunity to review Scotland's relative economic performance within the context of a longer time period. According to the official statistics, the Scottish economy grew by 3.4% in 1989 compared with 2.0% growth in the UK as a whole, the second successive year in which Scotland's growth rate exceeded that of the UK. Excluding oil and gas narrows the differential in Scotland's favour, but does not remove it (3.4% growth compared with 3.1% for the UK). This out performance is sure to have continued in 1990, and probably also into 1991. It is unusual and welcome for Scotland to outperform the UK for more than a short period; unfortunately, the situation looks less pleasant when viewed in the proper context, from peak to peak in the economic cycle.