ACTIVITY among Scottish businesses rose at its fastest pace for 12 months during April, suggesting the economy is beginning a “more robust recovery”, the Bank of Scotland said today.
The lender’s purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 53.1 last month from 51.1 in March, following an increase in orders for the fifth month in a row.
Scotland outperformed the UK as a whole, with a return to growth for factory output and a further rise in business for service firms.
Companies responded by creating more jobs, with employment rising at its fastest pace in nine months.
Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: “April’s PMI climbed to a 12-month high signalling growth in the private sector of the Scottish economy at the start of the second quarter of the year.
“Both business activity and employment grew in the manufacturing and services sectors while the volume of new business rose for the fifth month in a row.
“However, demand growth was largely UK based with the level of new export orders showing a flat trend for the past five months.
“These results suggest the Scottish economy is now beginning a more robust recovery.”
The report came as Mark Moore, founder of the Ingenious Britain campaign, called for small firms to “embrace the new business normal” by turning to crowd-funding, invoice financing and other alternative funding schemes if banks fail to provide competitive loans.