Stability returning to Scottish economy, Chambers of Commerce say
The Scottish economy continued to grow in the last quarter but at a slower pace than the previous three months, according to a report.
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce's (SCC) quarterly business survey found firms were still performing strongly.
But a number cited continued difficulties in the eurozone and world economies as a challenge to growth.
SCC said the "exceptional" performance of the second quarter would be hard to replicate in the final quarter of 2014.
However, it added that stability was "returning to the Scottish economy".
The business survey, carried out in conjunction with the Fraser of Allander Institute of Strathclyde University, drew responses from more than 420 firms across five major sectors - construction, financial and business services, manufacturing, retail and wholesale and tourism.
It found international events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles boosted tourism performance, with average room rates increasing for the sixth consecutive quarter.
But in the retail and wholesale sector, more firms reported a fall in sales revenue than a rise.
SCC said that trend was expected to remain largely unchanged in the next quarter.
Orders/sales grew in the third quarter for the construction and manufacturing sectors, but at a lower rate than the previous quarter.
Sales revenue growth was broadly unchanged for financial and business services firms.
Recruitment difficulties were still a concern for businesses, particularly in the construction sector, where almost half of firms that recruited said they had experienced difficulties.
SCC chief executive Liz Cameron said: "The construction sector and manufacturing sectors are still performing well but face ongoing challenges as both sectors experienced lower sales growth compared with the previous high performing quarter.
"Businesses have indicated that employment trends remain promising and are expected to grow, as more firms report increased levels of hiring.
"In particular, the retail sector reported its highest increase in employment for 10 years.
"As business looks to hire more people, continued challenges exist, as key sectors are often unable to find the right talent to employ, potentially slowing down the pace of economic growth."