Scotland business

Scotland narrows productivity gap with UK

welders Image copyright Thinkstock

Scotland is close to catching up with rest of the UK on productivity, according to official data released by the Scottish government.

In 2015 the output per hour of the average Scottish worker increased by 3.5%, compared with 0.9% for the UK.

Scotland's output is now 99.9% of the UK average, having increased from 94.5% in 2007.

Scottish government statisticians said the nation continued to lag the UK in terms of output per job.

By that measure, labour productivity increased by 2.1% in 2015 to stand at 97.8% of the average UK value.

'Welcome news'

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: "These figures show that Scotland's productivity performance has grown around four times faster than the UK, providing further evidence of Scotland's economic strength.

"Scotland is now matching UK levels of productivity.

"This is very welcome news and - through our commitment in our Economic Strategy to supporting innovation, increasing skills and improving our infrastructure - we will continue to work to improve this further."

Meanwhile, Scottish government data showed Scottish manufactured exports fell by 3.8% in volume terms during the third quarter of 2016.

Comparing the most recent four quarters to the previous four quarters, exports fell by 5.3%, according to the Index of Manufactured Exports (IME).

The latest quarterly fall was driven by contractions in most product groups, except for refined petroleum, chemical and pharmaceutical products, which saw marginal growth.

Image copyright Thinkstock

Commenting on the figures, Andy Hall from Barclays said: "With a fall in new orders and the pressure of rising manufacturing costs, it's not surprising the overall performance of the sector dipped during the quarter.

"Manufacturers continued to struggle with securing new business leads and tackling outstanding backlogs.

"With the full implications of Brexit still to be defined and inflation on the rise, the impact this may have on Scottish business remains uncertain."

More on this story