Latest official figures suggest Scottish economy grew 0.6% in Q3 and by 0.4% year on year
Scotland's economy exited recession and returned to growth in the third quarter of last year, new official figures suggest.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, which were delayed until today to allow for adjustments to bring weighting calculations in line with UK figures, show gross domestic product (GDP) in Scotland rose 0.6 per cent in the third quarter.
On a year-on-year basis, the growth rate in Scotland in the third quarter was up 0.4 per cent.
Scottish GDP figures were due to be published by the ONS on January 23 but were put back to today to due to Scottish Government statisticians “undertaking a major methodological update”.
A note in the third-quarter economic output statistics explaining the revisions, states:“As well as revisions associated with the update of weights and methodological review a number of small revisions also occur where the most recent data causes re-estimation of previous quarters, or updating of seasonal adjustment parameters.
“In this publication, the most significant revisions of this type are to the electricity & gas supply sector.
“These revisions are driven by incorporating the latest quarters into estimation of seasonal adjustment parameters.”
On a “broad industry level” in Scotland the ONS figures show production sector growth of 1.9 per cent, which included three per cent growth in manufacturing and growth of 1.9 per cent over the quarter in electricity and gas supply.
The construction sector contracted by 0.4 per cent in the third quarter and the service sector, accounting for 72.3 per cent of the Scottish economy, grew by 0.3 per cent.
Services, distribution, hotels and catering grew by 1.1 per cent and business services and finance grew by 0.9 per cent.
However, there were falls in transport, storage and communication, which contracted by 1.5 per cent, and government and other services, which contracted by 0.1 per cent.
The latest statistics also include revisions on previously published figures, with the second quarter minus 0.4 per cent drop in output revised upward to minus 0.1 per cent and the first quarter results revised downward, from minus 0.2 per cent to minus 0.5 per cent.
The latest official figures also show the UK economy grew by 0.9 per cent in the third quarter, helped by the Olympics, turning around a drop of 0.4 per cent the previous quarter.
On an annual basis, the latest figures suggest the UK economy grew in comparison by 0.1 per cent between the third quarter of 2011 and the third quarter of 2012.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "These figures show that the Scottish economy has returned to growth after two quarters of contraction.
"Scotland's improved economic performance compares well to that of the UK where growth was supported by the temporary impact of the Olympics.
"However, there is no room for complacency. Recovery remains fragile - demonstrated by last week's flash estimate of a contraction in UK output during Q4 2012 - and the UK Government's continuing inaction risks a return to recession for the third time since the financial crisis of 2008."
Commenting on the figures, Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “The news that the Scottish economy grew in the third quarter of last year is not unexpected.
“At the time when the figures for the UK were published last October, it was estimated that the distortion to the figures caused by having an additional bank holiday in the preceding quarter was around +0.5 per cent.
“This is similarly a factor in Scotland and therefore what this figure tells us is that the underlying performance of the Scottish economy remains pretty much flat.
“With our own Scottish Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Business Survey projecting only a marginal improvement in output and confidence in the early part of 2013, these latest figures underline the picture of an economy that has been treading water for an extended period of time.
“This is largely as a result of subdued demand.
“The good news is that there is capacity for growth in our economy and that businesses across the country are well placed to take advantage of the new opportunities that will arise from an upturn in demand.
“Average household disposable income grew marginally in Scotland last year and there remains significant opportunity available to businesses in terms of overseas sales.
“Coupled with the right level of support from government, we are confident that meaningful growth can return to our economy, but 2013 will be a challenging year.”