Private sector employment rose for the fourteenth month in a row in January, according to the latest Bank of Scotland purchasing managers’ index.
The increase in employment marks the longest run of net job creation in nearly six years.
Both output and job creation were boosted by growth in Scotland’s private sector – up for the sixteenth month in a row at its fastest rate of growth in three months.
This was driven by an increase in new business, with growth in new export orders following two months of decline.
The PMI is compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in around 600 manufacturing and service-sector companies.
It registered at 57.2 last month – up from 54.5 in December 2013. Anything above 50 constitutes growth, 50 means no change and below 50 suggests economic contraction. Bank of Scotland chief economist Donald MacRae said the PMI had returned to the highs of summer 2013.
“Output grew strongly in both manufacturing and service sectors accompanied by rising employment and increasing levels of new business,” he said.
“Business confidence continues to increase ensuring the Scottish economy not only continues the recovery but enters 2014 with growth momentum.”
Scots finance secretary John Swinney said the figures showed a “solid start to 2014 in the Scottish economy”.
“These positive figures follow on from recent GDP statistics which showed Scotland’s economy is enjoying its sixth consecutive quarter of growth, with the rate of growth in output accelerating in the most recent quarters,” he added.