Page last updated at 00:20 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Scots economic recovery 'weakens'

Economic figures
The Scottish figures are in contrast to the rest of the UK

The recovery in the Scottish economy weakened last month and manufacturing output fell, according to the latest survey of company managers.

The Purchasing Managers Index showed Scottish businesses registered their sixth month of consecutive expansion.

But that weakened between November and December, the survey of 600 firms carried out by Markit showed.

But Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy said there were signs that Scotland was through the worst of the recession.

The Scottish figures in the Markit survey were in contrast to the most recent data for the whole of the UK.

New orders were "considerably weaker" than the rest of the UK, where activity and growth in new orders both accelerated, and much of the growth in the Scottish economy was supported by discounted prices, the survey suggested.

The survey showed a slight rise in employment, but rising costs from inputs, suppliers and wages dampened enthusiasm for new hiring.

The signs are that Scotland is, thankfully, through the worst
Jim Murphy
Scottish Secretary

Input costs have been rising for seven months, and December saw the sharpest monthly rise for more than a year.

Andrew Self, an economist at Markit, said of the findings: "This data highlights further expansions of activity and new business in the Scottish economy. However, the recovery continues to lag behind that seen across the UK as a whole.

"Moreover, the overall pace of expansion eased since November, driven by a modest decline in manufacturing production.

"Whilst the inability of Scotland's recovery to match that seen across the UK is a concern, and the recovery path of 2010 remains uncertain, the Scottish economy ended 2009 in a markedly better state than that in which it began."

Mr Murphy, who is due to announce 300 new Future Job Funds jobs in Fife and Argyll and Bute at an employment summit in Glasgow on Monday, said: "The signs are that Scotland is, thankfully, through the worst.

"But things will still be difficult for many people and it's absolutely imperative that we don't allow unemployment to continue to rise in the same way as it did after previous recessions."

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