Royal Bank of Scotland PMI report for May 2024

Fastest output growth since May 2022

Key findings

  • Fastest output growth since May 2022 
  • Fresh rise in outstanding work 
  • Inflationary pressures ease 


The headline Royal Bank of Scotland Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the month-on-month change in the combined output for Scotland’s manufacturing and service sectors – scored 55.2 in May, up from 53.8 in April, signalling that private sector activity expanded for the fifth month running and at the strongest pace in two years. Supporting growth in activity was a sustained upturn in inflows of new work. However, underlying data again showed that growth across Scotland's private sector was achieved on the back of improving demand for services, which also helped mask the downturn observed in manufacturing. As a result, jobs growth and backlog accumulation was limited to service firms. In terms of prices, pressures eased in May after picking up notably in April.

Judith Cruickshank, Chair, Scotland Board, Royal Bank of Scotland, commented: "The Scottish private sector exhibited further gains midway through the second quarter. The upturn was contingent on the sustained rise in services activity which rose at a sharp and quicker rate and was vital in offsetting the shortfalls seen at manufacturers. Moreover, the divergence between the two sectors is set to persist as manufacturing new orders fell rapidly, while demand trends improved for services. May data also signalled a faster rate of job creation and a fresh rise in outstanding business. However, these upturns were again fuelled by the service sector. While the service sector looks set to expand in the coming months as expectations for future activity strengthens, the manufacturing sector will only hold back growth momentum, unless demand for goods picks up."


Please see the regional report in full:


Royal Bank of Scotland UK Regional PMI (PDF, 855KB)

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