The Scottish economy [October 1981]

Fraser, N. and Bell, D. and Hamilton, D. and Harrigan, F. and Jowett, A. and McGilvray, J. and McNicoll, I. and Moar, L. and O'Donnell, N. and Simpson, D. and Tait, E. and Walker, J. and Wingfield, A. (1981) The Scottish economy [October 1981]. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 7 (2). pp. 5-27. ISSN 0306-7866

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Throughout this year economists, industrialists and politicians have been analysing and discussing the economy and making countervailing claims as to whether or not the recession is over. While many industrialists are clearly aware of the factors influencing their own business they are uncertain of the economy wide prospects. Meanwhile politicians couch their economic analysis in language which maximises their own political objectives. Similarly many economists attempt to defend the schools of thought upon which their reputations are staked. The conflicting viewpoints expressed have resulted in widespread confusion about the future prospects of both the Scottish and British economies. However, much of this confusion arises out of a failure to differentiate between the effect the current recession has had on the level of output and on the level of unemployment. It is widely recognised that a strong relationship exists between these variables and that changes in the level of unemployment lag behind changes in the level of output. It is worthwhile examining each of these factors and assessing their likely future movements.