Scots firms 'still optimistic on growth'
Scotland's businesses remain optimistic about future growth despite increasing political and economic uncertainty, according to new research.
Business advisors Grant Thornton found more than half of business leaders questioned were confident about the country's economy over the next year.
It also found confidence was among the highest in Europe and the G7.
However, there were signs political uncertainty was leading firms to be more cautious on future investments.
The research revealed that only 34% of Scottish companies planned to increase their number of employees in the coming year - 19% down on 2015.
Debbie Mayor, from Grant Thornton in Scotland, said the latest set of data provided some reassurance during a time of great uncertainty.
She said: "Businesses in Scotland remain resilient and focused on driving forward their growth ambitions.
"But, despite that positive news, there are clearly some warning signs.
"With relatively few companies planning to increase employment and export figures falling short of what we might expect, it's clear we need to address some of the critical issues facing the country's economy in the coming months.
"It's particularly challenging for businesses to plan ahead when potentially game-changing political decisions are anticipated, from single market access to Scottish independence."
A survey of nearly 400 firms published earlier this month suggested the Scottish economy has been growing since the Brexit vote in June - but only at a slow pace.
Firms reported generally weaker trends in both performance and optimism than last year.