By Max Clarke

Unemployment in Scotland has fallen at its fastest fate since February 2008 despite slowed economic growth.

Scotland’s manufacturing and services sectors have also witnessed growth for the fifth consecutive month, though the rate of growth has slowed to its lowest point in the same period.

"The Scottish private sector economy enjoyed a fifth consecutive month of growth in May,” commented the chief economist at RBS, who compiled the indices in conjunction with Markit, Donald McRae, “although the rate of expansion has moderated. Both manufacturers and service providers are taking on more staff with the fastest rate of job creation since February 2008. Workforce growth was also slightly faster than the UK average for the first time since last September.”

Numbers of new businesses have also slowed and the rate now lags behind England, though continues to outperform Wales and Northern Ireland- both of which are still experiencing decline.

The lacklustre rise in new business during May led to a further decline in the volume of outstanding work held at private sector companies. Backlogs have declined in every month since September 2007. That said, the latest rate of contraction was slower than the long-run trend.

Despite the slower rise in new work, private sector companies added to their workforces in May. Moreover, the rate of employment growth was the fastest since February 2008. Latest data indicated workforce growth in both manufacturing and services.

Inflationary pressures remained strong as input prices continue to rise sharply, more so in manufacturing than services, even as the overall rate of inflation slowed to a five-month low.


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