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State of Economy report

Economy ‘performing strongly’ despite slow growth

Keith Brown

Keith Brown: ‘growth is slower than we would like’ (photo by Terry Murden)

Scotland’s economy has performed strongly in the first half of the year, according to official data.

The State of the Economy paper, published by Scotland’s Chief Economist Gary Gillespie, shows a robust labour market with near-record numbers in work.

However, critics will point to the low growth rate and Economic Secretary Keith Brown has admitted that it is “slower than we would like”.

Summary findings:

  • Economic performance has strengthened in 2017 with growth picking-up over the first half of the year
  • The labour market has continued to perform strongly, with the employment rate close to its record high and unemployment rate close to its record low;
  • The composition of the labour market shows full-time employment has risen by 55,000 over the past year, whilst part-time employment has fallen by 15,000
  • Sectors linked to the oil and gas supply chain have grown over the first half of the year as confidence gradually returns to the sector
  • Growth forecasts remain positive, projecting growth of around 1% in 2017 and 2018
  • Brexit remains the key risk to Scotland’s economy with on-going uncertainty risking business investment and the depreciation in Sterling already feeding through to higher inflation

Mr Brown said: “It is encouraging to see further evidence that the foundations of Scotland’s economy remain strong, with positive forecasts on growth.

“However, growth is slower than we would like to see and the UK Government’s stance on Brexit continues to present a huge threat to jobs and prosperity in Scotland.

“We will continue to do all we can to support growth in our economy.”

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