About the data
The Somerset economy is highly dependent on service industries, which accounted for roughly 72% of all economic output in 2016. 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 2016, manufacturing accounted for 14.6% of the economic output in Somerset, compared to the national average of 9.9%.
In 2016 manufacturing contributed £1.66bn of economic output in Somerset, more than any other single industry. Wholesale and Retail Trade was the second largest contributor at £1.52bn (or 13.3%), followed closely by Real Estate Activities at £1.49bn (13.1%). 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 (13.7%), followed by wholesale and retail (11.1%) and then manufacturing (9.9%).
Industries contributing notably less than is the case nationally are Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (5.5% versus 8.0%), Financial and Insurance Activities (2.0% versus 6.8%) and Information and Communication Activities (2.3% versus 6.3%). 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 (9.3% versus 7.4%) and Public Administration and Defence (5.8% versus 4.4%). Meanwhile, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, whilst being one of the smallest contributors to economic output in Somerset (£149m), is still worth almost three times as much to the Somerset economy (1.3%) than is the case nationally (0.5%).
Further differences in the relative significance of industries can be seen at the district level.
In West Somerset, Electricity, Gas, Steam & Air-conditioning Supply accounts for an enormous 26% of the area’s output. This is due to the presence of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station within the district. This industry section, in West Somerset alone, contributes roughly £199m to the county’s economic output. The next two biggest industries in West Somerset are Real Estate Activities (14.4%) and Accommodation and Food Services (11.6%). In short, these three industries alone account for more than half of the West Somerset economy.
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 £797m in 2016, more than 22% 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 the single largest contributor in Sedgemoor, where it accounted for £365m GVA in 2016, or roughly 17.3% of its total output.
In Taunton Deane, the single largest industry contributor to GVA is Human Health and Social Work Activities, which accounted for £437m in 2016, or roughly 16.4% of Taunton Deane’s total output. 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.
As is the case for Somerset as a whole, the second and third largest industries in South Somerset, Sedgemoor and Taunton Deane in terms of GVA are Wholesale and Retail Trade, and Real Estate Activities. In Mendip, as is the case nationally, these are the two largest industries.
 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, 2018