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Jobs growth in Scotland’s private sector fastest in UK, survey says



The Royal Bank of Scotland’s latest purchasing managers’ index report shows manufacturing and services recorded growth in staffing levels, with the overall rate of job creation accelerating to a nine-month high.

This put Scotland top of the employment growth table among the UK’s 12 nations and regions in the survey.

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The growth of Scotland’s private sector economy also accelerated in February.

The headline Scotland business activity index – which measures the month-on-month change in the combined output of the manufacturing and services sectors – rose to 52.1 in February from 51.7 in January on a seasonally adjusted basis to signal the strongest expansion in private sector output since June last year.

Scotland was ranked eighth among the 12 UK nations and regions for its business activity index reading ahead of south west England, Yorkshire and Humber, north east England and Wales.

A fresh but modest rise in new business was recorded across Scotland during February, the Royal Bank observed.

Judith Cruickshank, who chairs Royal Bank’s Scotland board, said: “February numbers for Scotland signalled solid gains across the private sector.

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“The fresh growth seen at the start of the year was sustained and even strengthened, as the downward pressure from the manufacturing sector dissipated slightly, and growth across the service sector was maintained.

“However, the latest expansion across the Scottish private sector was heavily reliant on the service sector, while goods producers failed to perform under the weight of a worsening demand climate. That said, the recent expansion in employment across both the sub-sectors alludes to more balanced growth in the coming months.”

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