Scotland’s economy saw its fastest growth since 2006, by 0.6% over the three months to the end of 2014, according to new Scottish Government statistics.
On an annual basis, the figures show that Scottish GDP also grew by 2.8% compared to the same quarter of the previous year.
Calendar year growth for 2014 was measured at 2.7%. Annually, this has resulted in growth of 17.6% based on the three months to 2013.
The rise has been mainly attributed to the country’s construction sector, which grew by 6.1% over the quarter. This is in addition to a 5.3% rise for the industry on the previous quarter.
The services sector, which accounted for almost three-quarters of the Scottish economy in 2012, remained flat with 0.0% growth in Q4 of 2014.
The statistics also show that, within this sector, Transport, Storage & Communication grew 2.4%. However this was offset by a 0.2% contraction in Business Services & Finance and a 4.0% fall in Other Services.
It is estimated that the strong growth in the sector in the previous quarter was as a result of a direct adjustment for Commonwealth Games ticket sales and revenue. Scotland’s chief statistician reported that “indirect economic effects of the Games will also have been reflected across the economy, and may have had a corresponding impact on this quarter’s growth rates.”
Elsewhere over the quarter, Production grew by 1.0%. Manufacturing saw 2.7% growth in Food, Beverages & Tobacco, and a 1.7% rise in Refined Petroleum, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Production. This was offset by a 2.0% contraction in Metals, Metal Products & Machinery and a 5.1% contraction in Computer, Electrical & Optical Products.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Scotland’s economy continues to show strength, growing 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of 2014, with growth of 2.7 per cent across 2014 as a whole – the fastest since 2006. The Scottish economy is now 2.3 per cent above the pre-recession peak.
“Growth in the latest quarter was driven by construction in particular, which rose by 6.1 per cent over the quarter. During 2014, the construction sector expanded by 13 per cent and the sector is also now performing above pre-recession levels. There was also encouraging growth in the production industries, expanding by 1 per cent over the quarter.”