Royal Bank of Scotland PMI report for March 2024

Private sector growth remains skewed towards the service sector.

Key findings

  • Service providers signal a sharp and faster expansion in activity
  • Downturn in manufacturing production deepens
  • Price pressures ease and almost align with historical average


The headline Scotland Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the month-on-month change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – signalled a third consecutive monthly expansion in private sector output during March. The index rose from 52.1 in February to 53.6, indicating the most pronounced expansion in 11 months. The latest upturn across Scotland surpassed that seen for the UK as a whole, with only London and Northern Ireland recording stronger rates of growth. However, underlying data noted a continued divergence between the two sub-sectors. While business activity rose across service providers at the sharpest pace since June 2022, the downturn in manufacturing production entered its ninth successive month and deepened since February.


Judith Cruickshank, Chair, Scotland Board, Royal Bank of Scotland, commented: "The health of the Scottish private sector continued to improve as the first quarter drew to a close. However, the growth recorded was solely garnered on the back of the fast-expanding service sector. Meanwhile, the production segment of the economy remained a challenge. The lopsided nature of the expansion injects some concern over future growth.”


Please see the regional report in full:


Royal Bank of Scotland UK Regional PMI (PDF, 1,816KB)

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