The Scottish economy [November 1983]

Kirwan, Frank and Buchanan, Bob and Crawford, Robert and Harrigan, Frank and Jenkins, Iain and McNicoll, Iain and Moar, Lyle and O'Donnell, Noreen and Simpson, David and Walker, Jim and Wingfield, Alison (1983) The Scottish economy [November 1983]. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 9 (2). pp. 1-11. ISSN 0306-7866

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This latest analysis reveals that there are a disturbing number of indications that the recovery in Scotland has not been as marked as that in Britain as a whole, and perhaps more worrying, that short term growth prospects in Scotland may already be flagging. Compared to the wealth of data available on the British economy, documentation of current economic activity in Scotland is sparse. There is therefore an inevitable tendency to assume that British experience will be broadly replicated at the Scottish level, even when no contemporaneous evidence is available to substantiate this assumption. Thus the recovery in the British economy over the past two years is widely if somewhat sceptically assumed to have had its counterpart in Scotland. The evidence to support this contention is becoming increasingly difficult to find. As this analysis reveals, this may in part reflect the fact that the manufacturing sector, which bore the brunt of the recession and which accounts for less than a quarter of total Scottish employment, tends to be the best documented. Recent trends in Scottish manufacturing are not encouraging. If these trends are representative of those in other sectors, recovery from recession has been sluggish in Scotland with short term prospects depending critically on an increased emphasis on export and investment demand during the second stage of the world recovery.