Scottish economic growth accelerated in May to its fastest pace since last July, job creation was at its greatest in 41 months and new business growth in Scotland was the strongest in any month since July 2014.
The Royal Bank of Scotland PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) report has revealed it also found the sharpest expansion in order book volumes for 46 months.
Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at Royal Bank, said: “We have had two or three years now where we have been talking about the Scottish economy under-performing, particularly relative to the rest of the UK, so it is particularly encouraging to see some early signs that businesses are feeling conditions are a bit better at the moment.”
For the first time since October last year, the overall rise was broad-based, with both manufacturers and service providers observing greater business activity. May survey data point to the fastest expansion in new orders since July 2014. New product launches, stronger export sales and successful contract tendering were all linked to the improvement in demand. Sector data indicated that service providers recorded a faster rise than their manufacturing counterparts.
Overall, the rate of growth in Scotland was stronger than that seen for the UK as a whole.
To cope with demand pressures, businesses recruited extra staff at a solid pace in May. In fact, the rate of job creation accelerated to a 41-month high.
Commenting, Business for Scotland CEO Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp said: “It comes as no surprise to us to hear about the continued strengthening and pace of growth of Scotland’s economy and it’s even more positive news coming right on the back of the announcement of Scotland’s Foreign and Direct Investment success.
“Just last week a new survey revealed confidence in the economy of an independent Scotland has soared, and this news will go some way to further persuade people that Scotland can thrive as an independent country.”
BfS on confidence in the economy of an independent Scotland.