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The UK’s economy is dominated by services industries, which include retail, hospitality and finance, as well as public services like health and education.

Other industries, including manufacturing, construction, agriculture and utilities, account for around a fifth of economic output altogether. The share attributed to manufacturing over the past 30 years has decreased while the share attributed to services has increased.

Download the Excel file accompanying this briefing to see economic output and jobs data for UK industrial sectors by country, region and constituency, where available.

Economic output by industry

Since 1990 the share of the economy attributed to services has grown from 70% to 81%, while the share attributed to manufacturing has decreased by a similar amount, from 17% to 9%.   

The share of the economy attributed to the other main industry groups (agriculture, mining, construction and utilities) has remained broadly stable over the same period.

A more detailed breakdown of how much each industry contributes to the UK economy is in the chart below. Services industries are shared light green and other industries dark green.

Real estate was the largest individual industry accounting for 12.5% of gross value added (GVA), though this includes the value of “imputed rents” which is a hypothetical estimate of what owner-occupiers would pay if they rented rather than owned their homes.

After the real estate industry, retail and wholesale accounted for 10.4% of GVA and manufacturing 9.4%. 

GVA is a measure of economic output that is like gross domestic product, or GDP. GVA measures the value of products and services produced minus the costs incurred in production, though not including labour costs.

Jobs by industry

Services account for an even larger share of jobs in the UK (85%) than they do economic output (81%) according to ONS data.

Retail and wholesale trade and health and social care are the two sectors which account for the largest proportion of all jobs, at 13% each.

The chart below shows a breakdown of jobs by industries.

Industries by country and region

London is the most atypical UK region in terms of its economic output. Services accounted for 93% of the city’s output compared to 80% across the UK in 2021, the latest ONS data available.

In particular, the finance and insurance, IT and communications and professional and technical sectors are much larger in London relative to its overall economic output than the UK average.

Manufacturing on the other hand accounts for just 1.8% of London’s output compared to 10% across the UK.

By contrast, the north of England, Midlands and Wales have relatively large manufacturing sectors and smaller services sectors (though services still account for over 70% of output in each of these regions).

Services dominated by public sector work (public administration and defence, education, and health and social care) and the utilities sector account for greater shares of the economies of Wales, Scotland and the North East of England than they do across the UK overall.

The relative size of the construction sector is broadly similar across regions, though forms a larger share of the economies of the East of England (8.7%) and Northern Ireland (7.4%) than the UK overall (5.9%).

Further economic indicators by country and region can be found in the Library briefing: Regional and national economic indicators.

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