About the data
The Somerset economy is highly dependent on service industries, which accounted for roughly 68% of all economic output in 2020. However, this is notably lower than the national average of just over 80%, which is largely attributable to the relative significance of manufacturing activities in Somerset. In 2020, manufacturing accounted for 17% of the economic output in Somerset, compared to the national average of 10%.
In 2020 manufacturing contributed £1.87bn of economic output in Somerset, more than any other single industry apart from real estate which also contributes £1.84bn. Wholesale is the next largest contributor at £1.18bn (or 10.9%). Combined, these three industries contributed more than 40% of all economic output in Somerset. Incidentally, these are also the three biggest industries nationally, although with real estate the biggest (14.5%), followed by wholesale and retail (10.7%) and then manufacturing (10.1%).
Industries contributing notably less than is the case nationally are Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (4.9% versus 7%), Financial and Insurance Activities (1.6% versus 9%) and Information and Communication Activities (2.3% versus 7%). Conversely, there are numerous industries of comparatively greater significance in Somerset, including those falling largely under the banner of the public sector, such as Human Health and Social Work (8.4% versus 7.4%) and Public Administration and Defence (6.1% versus 5.3%). Meanwhile, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, whilst being one of the smallest contributors to economic output in Somerset (£267m), is still worth almost three times as much to the Somerset economy (2.5%) than is the case nationally (0.7%).
Further differences in the relative significance of industries can be seen at the district level.
We have already seen that Manufacturing is the single largest industry contributor to GVA in Somerset. In South Somerset this industry is especially important, where it contributed £962m in 2020, more than 28% of South Somerset’s total economic output. This is largely accounted for by the presence of significant aerospace activities in and around Yeovil and its associated manufacturing supply chain. Manufacturing is also one of the largest contributors in Sedgemoor, where it accounted for £368m GVA in 2020, or roughly 17.6% of its total output.
In the Somerset West and Taunton area, the single largest industry contributor to GVA is Real estate Activities, which accounted for £490m in 2020, or roughly 15% of total output. The second largest industry is Human health and Social work activities which accounted for nearly 14% of total output (£452m), This is due largely to the presence in Taunton of Musgrove Park Hospital, as well as the majority of the county’s public administrative (incl. social work) functions.
 It should be noted, however, that this is an important primary industry, which supports many other activities (e.g. food and drink) and therefore has additional value beyond immediate outputs. It also an important contributor to the natural capital and character of the county.
Source: Economic Model for Somerset and the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership, 2022