Royal Bank of Scotland PMI report for December 2023

Downturn in Scottish private sector output eases in December

Key findings

  • Softest fall in private sector output in four months
  • Fresh expansion in service sector output
  • Strongest rise in employment in UK


The latest decline was centred on the manufacturing sector, while services firms reported a fresh, albeit marginal, rise in activity. 

Moreover, companies raised their staff intakes, with employment rising for the eleventh consecutive month in December. Successful replacement of leavers and expectations of growth allowed firms to increase their hiring activity. Moreover, the rate of job creation across Scotland was the strongest of all the 12 monitored UK regions and nations.

The year ended with another monthly contraction in new business across Scotland, with new orders falling continuously since July. However, the downturn eased and was centred on the manufacturing sector, with respondents citing deteriorating market conditions and higher prices deterring customers. In contrast, a fresh rise in new work was noted at services providers.




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


"Firms in Scotland recorded a contraction in private sector output during December, with the manufacturing sector weighing heavily on overall performance. However, the latest downturn was modest overall and the weakest in four months, in part reflecting a fresh, albeit marginal, expansion in business activity across services firms. 

"Employment levels continued to rise, indicating that companies anticipate higher business volumes in the coming months. Job creation was also the strongest in the UK. In terms of inflation, input prices rose at the slowest rate in nearly three years and one below the long-run average, although charge inflation remained historically high." 

Please see the regional report in full:


Royal Bank of Scotland UK Regional PMI (PDF, 1.8MB)


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