The State of the Cities report is an independent report on the state of Aberdeen's economy, published annually by the Aberdeen Economic Policy Panel.
Published on 20 December 2021, the fourth annual report said the relentless focus on clear prioritisation, co-creation of policy with stakeholders, and timely delivery needs to continue.
The latest annual report comes at a time of continuing global economic challenge from the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty that has brought along with the ongoing challenges from the changes to the oil and gas sector and the transition to net zero.
It also said the future success of the North East is critical for the long-term health of the Scottish and UK economies and the region cannot be expected to meet the complex challenges ahead alone. A more joined up and coordinated approach across the Council, UK Government and Scottish Government on all issues that impact on regional economic development would aid long-term planning in Aberdeen.
The report said it was the right time to develop a new Regional Economic Strategy with Aberdeen taking a regional lead on managing natural assets in the transition to Net Zero, building on the recognition in the current Regional Economic Strategy which stated the region’s natural assets and clean environment are vital to its economic success.
It highlighted recent progress on the City Centre Masterplan and plans for redevelopment of the beachfront are welcome first steps in meeting a recommendation from the 2020 report that policy focuses on making Aberdeen a resilient and attractive place to live, work, and invest.
The downturn in oil and gas, which started in 2014 but had not fully recovered even by the start of the pandemic, led to a decline in relative economic performance across the region. The number of employees in the region fell by more than 15,000 between 2015 and the start of the pandemic in early 2020.
Despite this, on a GVA per head basis, the North-east remained some 31% and 19.3% above the Scottish and UK averages respectively in 2019, with earnings also higher than the national average (£32,747 in Aberdeen in 2021 compared with £31,672 in Scotland and £31,285 in the UK).
The report said the energy sector is critical to the success of the area with 40% of Scottish energy sector enterprises located in the North-east and about 60,000 jobs supported by the sector in the region.