Shetland Economic Accounts 2017

The purpose of this report was to present findings from the economic analysis of Shetland undertaken in 2017, commissioned by the Shetland Islands Council.

As part of this analysis, the Fraser of Allander Institute constructed an Input-Output (IO) table for the Shetland economy, compiled a Shetland Occupational Employment by Industry matrix compatible with the core IO table, analysed the IO table and related data to provide comment on the current structure and recent performance of the Shetland economy, and compared the results with the equivalent data from the previous study in 2011.

This enabled comments to be made on changes that occurred in the Shetland economy between the two study periods.

The main findings of this report were:

  • Shetland GRDP in 2017 was £584.4 million, amounting to £25,443 per person which is 0.48% higher than the Scottish average.
  • Between 2011 and 2017, there was a £47.8 million increase in GRPD in real terms.
  • The five sectors which account for most employment in Shetland (in descending order) were: Schools, Construction, Retail, Social Work and Public Administration.
  • The five sectors which account for most value added (in descending order) were: Aquaculture, Retail, Public Administration, Construction and Schools.
  • The five sectors which account for most output (in descending order) were: Aquaculture, Fish processing, Public Administration, Retail and Construction.
  • There were various changes in the sectoral contributions to value added and output between 2011 and 2017. There was a significant increase in Aquaculture and reduction in the Oil sector (driven by reclassification of the oil terminal).
  • Wages and salaries were the largest source of income of Shetland households, accounting for 70% of average income.
  • On average household expenditure in Shetland in 2017 was £36,374 per annum with £22,030 of this spend within the Shetland region.
  • The value of exports from Shetland in 2017 was £597.6 million and the value of imports £422.7 million, a trade surplus of £175 million.
  • Over the 6 year period between 2011 and 2017 exports have grown, in real terms, at a rate of 1.75% while imports have grown 0.75%.
  • The two largest export industries were aquaculture and fishing, which between them account for nearly 40% of total exports.
  • The total value of tourism in 2017 was £23.2 million, up from £15.2 million in 2011 (in real terms).
  • The two largest multipliers for output were Fish processing and Agriculture, indicating their importance to the Shetland economy.


James is a Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute. He specialises in economic policy, modelling, trade and climate change. His work includes the production of economic statistics to improve our understanding of the economy, economic modelling and analysis to enhance the use of these statistics for policymaking, data visualisation to communicate results impactfully, and economic policy to understand how data can be used to drive decisions in Government.

Kevin is a Chancellor's Fellow in the Department of Economic with a focus on the use of regional economic models for policy analysis. Areas of interest include; energy and climate change, poverty and tourism.

Mairi is the Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute. Previously, she was the Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Fiscal Commission and the Head of National Accounts at the Scottish Government and has over a decade of experience working in different areas of statistics and analysis.

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The Fraser of Allander has been at the forefront of economic modelling for over forty years, including building the first-ever detailed set of national macroeconomic accounts for Scotland.