Scots economy sees small return to growth

Scotland’s economy has grown slightly in May as people began to return to work, it has emerged.

Construction saw some improvement in May, the figures show
Construction saw some improvement in May, the figures show

But despite the 1.5% increase in GDP, it remains about 22% below the level it was in February before the Coronavirus pandemic struck, new figures today suggest. It follows sharp falls sharp falls of 18.9% in April and 5.5% in March, according to the experimental figures published by the Scottish Government.

"The results for May are more mixed,” according to the latest GDP monthly estimate.

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“Some parts of the economy are estimated to have seen a pickup in activity as firms and consumers adapted to physical distancing and some people returned to work.

" However, other industries across the services sector experienced further falls in output.”

The estimates for March to May are broadly similar to the UK as a whole, reflecting the similar lockdown measures in place at these times.

The manufacturing and wider production sectors, along with Retail & Wholesale and Transport services were the key sectors which enjoyed some growth in May.

Construction has also seen some improvement, with total output in the sector estimated to have increased by 8.2% in May, after falling by 40.1% in April and 6.0% in March. It remains down a massive 39% since the start of lockdown.

The services sector is also estimated to have increased by 0.3% in May, after falling by 17.5% in April and 5.7% in March.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Although there was a slight rise in GDP in May, these figures once again confirm the serious impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on the economy across the UK. We are determined to do everything in our power to support economic recovery and protect people’s jobs and livelihoods throughout this crisis.

“Since May lockdown restrictions in Scotland have been eased on several business sectors including manufacturing, construction and retail, and the Scottish Government has introduced a series of measures to help stimulate the recovery. We are implementing a £230 million investment package to create jobs in construction, low carbon schemes, digitisation and business support and last week we unveiled a £38 million for high growth companies."

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