Royal Bank of Scotland PMI report for March 2023

Private sector activity expands for the second month running

Key findings

  • Quickest rise in private sector activity since June 2022
  • Growth in new orders also picks up
  • Employment growth at eight-month high


The rate at which private sector output grew was the strongest in nine months, with the Scotland Business Activity Index rising from February's 51.0 to 52.9 in March. This compared favourably against the UK as a whole (52.2), where the rate of expansion slowed.

Furthermore, firms across Scotland noted a solid and accelerated rise in new business inflows in March. In turn, back-to-back expansions were noted in private workforce numbers, again the latest rate of job creation quickening on the month and signalling the strongest intake of staff since last July.


Judith Cruickshank, Chair, Scotland Board, Royal Bank of Scotland, commented:

“The rate of expansion in private sector activity across Scotland quickened at the end of the first quarter. Both manufacturing and services registered growth, with goods producers noting the stronger upturn. More so, improved investment and advertising has been fruitful, with order volumes picking up at a historically strong rate. The upturns in output and new business resulted in a further expansion in workforce numbers. In fact, despite levels of unfinished work falling at a modest pace, hiring activity across the Scottish private sector was at an eight-month high.

“Looking ahead, confidence across the private sector faltered slightly from the recent high seen in February. Nonetheless, private sector firms across Scotland were strongly confident in regards to longer term future output.”


Please see the report in full:
Download the Scotland PMI Report March 2023 (PDF, 246kB)

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