SCOTLAND’S economy is now bigger than it was before the Covid pandemic struck, after  a painful slump and bounce back lasting almost two years.

Experimental statistics from the Scottish Government estimated Scottish GDP in November was 0.6 per cent higher than in  February 2020.

It follows other recent good news showing the number of people in work in Scotland has also now returned to pre-pandemic levels.

SNP Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said the GDP data was “fantastic news” and showed the “fundamental strengths of the Scottish economy” despite the challenges of Covid.

The latest figures show Scotland’s onshore GDP (which excludes oil and gas extraction) grew by 0.8% in November thanks to rises in the services, productions and construction. 

Output in the services sector, which accounts for around three quarters of the economy, grew by 0.5% in November, with increases in nine of the fourteen subsectors.

Output in consumer facing services was flat in November (0% growth), and health, education and public services output fell by 0.1%, while output in all other services increased by 0.9%.

The Herald:

Output in the production sector, which accounts for a sixth of the economy, grew by 1.7% in November, with growth in three of four subsectors, including 1.7% growth in manufacturing.

Output in the construction sector, which accounts for around 6% of the economy, is estimated to have grown by 3.6% in November.

In the three months to November, GDP is estimated to have grown by 1.3% compared to the previous quarter.

Ms Forbes said: “This is fantastic news for the Scottish economy, with Scottish GDP estimates now above pre-pandemic levels. It reveals the fundamental underlying strengths of the Scottish economy, despite the many challenges of Covid-19.

“While we know our economic recovery remains fragile – not least due to the recent necessary public health measures introduced in response to the omicron variant – we can be confident that these latest GDP estimates signal a return to pre-pandemic levels which is extremely encouraging.  

“The Scottish Government remains firmly focused on supporting our economy to fully recover and that is why we are working with businesses to invest in growth.”

Last week HMRC estimates suggested there were 2.42 million payrolled employees in Scotland in December, an increase of 22,000 or 0.9% on February 2020.

The number of people in work in the UK has also returned to pre-Covid levels, and is currently 1.4% above where it was in the month before lockdown.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “It’s encouraging to see Scotland's economy growing again, as we start to build back from the pandemic.

“The UK Government is continuing to support people and businesses in all parts of the UK to help ensure a strong recovery.

“In addition, we are investing in communities right across Scotland, including through £191 million in direct UK Government grants and £1.5 billion being invested in Scottish Growth Deals. And the UK Government's multi-billion pound Plan For Jobs is working, with more people in jobs than before the pandemic. 

“Our Levelling Up White paper, to be published shortly, will set out how we will ensure all parts of the UK thrive and prosper.”