House of Commons Library

Industries in the UK

Published Wednesday, June 27, 2018

This note presents data on economic output and employment in major UK industries.

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Scroll to the end of this page to download spreadsheets showing national economic output, employment and regional economic output for major industries in the UK.

Summary of data

Economic output

In 2017:

  • The services industry (including retail, accommodation, business administration and finance) contributed £1.4 trillion in economic output, 79% of total UK economic output.
  • Manufacturing output was £188 billion, 10% of total output.
  • The construction sector’s output was £116 billion, 6% of total output.

Economic output

 Employment

Employment by industry at national level is broadly in line with economic output. In 2016 in Great Britain:

  • The service industries employed 25.0 million people, 85% of UK workers
  • Manufacturing employed 2.4 million people, 8% of the total
  • The construction industry employed 1.5 million people, 5% of the total

 Employees

Regional economic output

The regions and countries of the UK have an industrial structure similar to the UK overall. Some notable outliers include:

  • The manufacturing industry in Wales accounted for 18% of economic output in 2016, compared to 10% in the UK overall.
  • The services sector in London accounted for 91% of economic output, compared to 80% in the UK overall.
  • Financial services account for 3% of output in Northern Ireland, compared to 7% in the UK overall.

 Regional output

Notes and sources

Economic output

Data on the economic output of industries are produced by the ONS as part of the estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These data are produced to internationally agreed standards and enable industries to be compared with one another and over time. The source for the information in this note is the Low Level Aggregates data that is published alongside the GDP estimates.

The economic output of part of the economy, such as an industry or a region can be measured and compared using Gross Value Added (GVA), a measure of economic activity that is similar to GDP. In brief, GVA is the contribution of part of the economy, minus any costs incurred in production.

Employment

Data on employees by industry and region is available from the ONS Business Register and Employment Survey which is published annually and presents comparable data back to 2008. Data in this publication comes via the ONS NOMIS web database.

Regional economic output

The estimates of economic output by industry and region or country of the UK are from the ONS publication Regional Gross Value Added (balanced approachvia the ONS NOMIS web database.

Classifying industries

Different types of economic activity are grouped together to form industries such as retail or construction. These groupings are officially defined in a system called the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. This is regularly updated to ensure that new types of economic activity are accurately represented and that the groupings make sense in the context of the modern economy. The most recent SIC code was published in 2007 (SIC 2007) and corresponds to internationally agreed standards that are used by the UN and EU. The ONS provides further detailed information and guidance on using SIC 2007.

The industrial classifications used in this note are: Agriculture (SIC code A); Mining and quarrying (B); Manufacturing (C); Utilities (D, E); Construction (F); Retail and wholesale (G); Transportation and storage (H); Accommodation and food (I); Information and communication (J); Finance and insurance (L); Professional and support (M, N); Government, education, health and defence (O,P,Q); Other services (R, S, T, U)

This note presents data on the economic contribution of broad industrial groupings. Data on industrial groupings for more specific types of economic activity is published as part of the ONS Annual Business Survey, Sections A-S spreadsheet.

It should be noted that the way economic activity is classified can have a significant influence on the relative size of an industrial grouping. For example, the official sources combine the government, health, education and defence industries into one sector (a rough approximation of the public sector). If these sectors were grouped differently or on their own, their individual economic contribution would be small in comparison to the combined figures.

Instructions for using the attached spreadsheets

National output

When the light green drop down cell in the top left is set to ‘Real’, the data displayed is £ billions, adjusted for inflation and in 2015 prices.

When the light green drop down cell in the top left is set to ‘Nominal’ the data is £ billions not adjusted for inflation.

When the light green drop down cell in the top left is set to ‘Percentage’ the data shows the proportion of economic activity accounted for by each sector in the UK.

Regional output

When the light green drop down cell in the top left is set to ‘Billions’ the data shows £ billions in nominal terms for 2016.

When the light green drop down cell in the top left is set to ‘Percentage’, the data shows economic output by industry as a proportion of the region's total.

Employees

Select the region that you are interested in from the orange drop down cell in the centre to view data for that region.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8353

Author: Chris Rhodes

Topics: Construction industry, Industry, Manufacturing industries, Service industries

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