Scottish economy ‘growing but slowing’ says report

John Swinney welcomed the figures as 'further evidence of a strengthening labour market in Scotland'. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
John Swinney welcomed the figures as 'further evidence of a strengthening labour market in Scotland'. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Scotland’s economy is “growing but slowing”, according to a new report.

November’s Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs found a slower increase in the number of staff placed in permanent jobs by consultancies, the joint-weakest in the past 18 months.

The number of temporary staff placed in employment increased in November but the rate of growth eased to the slowest since April.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer slipped to 60.1 in November, from 65.0 in October, suggesting another improvement in overall labour market conditions in Scotland, but at the slowest rate since September of last year.

It was below the equivalent index for the UK jobs market as a whole for the first time in five months. The barometer measures areas such as staff demand, employment and wages to create a single-figure snapshot of labour market conditions.

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The figure is measured against a baseline of 50, with anything above 50 representing an improvement and anything below a deterioration.

Bank of Scotland chief economist Donald MacRae said: “November’s Report on Jobs showed further growth in the number of people appointed to jobs although the pace of increase eased to its lowest level for seven months.

“Vacancies for permanent jobs rose, but at a slower rate than earlier in the year. These results indicate Scotland’s economy growing but slowing.”

The report found that salaries increased last month as demand for staff remained strong.

However, the rising pace of permanent jobs vacancies was down considerably from the highs seen earlier in the year and the lowest overall since September 2013.

Demand for temporary staff increased in November, extending the current sequence of growth to 61 months.

The IT and computing sector performed best on the permanent jobs front, while the nursing/medical/care sector led a broad-based increase in temporary staff demand.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “These welcome figures are further evidence of a strengthening labour market in Scotland. The Bank of Scotland report shows that the employment picture in Scotland improved for the 49th consecutive month, with the demand for permanent staff appointments also continuing to increase.

“The report comes at a time when the most recent labour market figures show that Scotland has the highest employment and economic activity rates and lowest unemployment rate of the four nations of the UK. We will continue to do all we can to ensure the positive trends continue, but with further job-creating powers, we could do even more .”

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