Scotland business

Scottish business output hits three-month high

Welder Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The figures relate to changes in combined manufacturing and services output

Scotland's private sector grew last month, with output reaching the highest level since February, according to a new report.

Businesses put the growth down to expansion in the services sector, while manufacturing production also remained strong.

Meanwhile, cost pressures eased marginally, remaining steep overall.

The findings are contained in the Bank of Scotland's regional purchasing managers' index (PMI) for May.

However, growth remained below that of the UK as a whole.

The PMI for Scotland stood at 51.5 last month, up from March's four-month low of 50.1. It was 50.6 in April.

'Unexpected upturn'

The index, which produces a single-figure measure of the month-on-month change in combined manufacturing and services output, indicates a rise in business confidence towards the next 12 months.

The firms surveyed in the report attributed confidence to "an unexpected economic upturn".

Fraser Sime, of Bank of Scotland, said: "Latest PMI data signalled the Scottish private sector moving up a gear, as growth reached a three-month high."

He added: "The positive news was driven by rises in combined output and new orders, fuelled by solid underlying demand.

"Also, easing price pressures added to the overall improvement in business conditions. That said, Scottish private sector growth remains below that of the UK as a whole."

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: "The latest Bank of Scotland PMI figures show a welcome rebound in Scottish service sector business activity in May while manufacturing output remains strong and continues to improve.

"These figures show the Scottish economy remains resilient and we will continue to do all we can to support growth."

More on this story