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[ 18-01-2012 ]

Responding to a raft of economic data published today, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
On Scottish unemployment:
“This further large rise in Scottish unemployment is disappointing and highlights the challenges faced by our economy in 2012. Last year, the private sector was successful in creating over 50,000 jobs in Scotland but in the face of accelerating cuts in the public sector and an uncertain future for many of our traditional export markets, it will be difficult to maintain this level of performance. Youth unemployment continues to be a major concern and we welcome the priority this has with both the Scottish and UK Governments. Chambers of Commerce will continue to work with government to find new and lasting ways to tackle this problem.”
On Scottish GDP:
“The news that the Scottish economy grew by 0.5% in the third quarter of 2011 puts us roughly in line with the overall UK trend but the historic nature of this data means that we do not yet know the full effects that Eurozone uncertainty has had on our economy. The worst of the Eurozone crisis occurred in the final quarter of 2011 and our own survey data suggests that this proved to be a very difficult time for business across a number of industry sectors. The good news is that this growth figure reveals that the Scottish economy remains geared for strong expansion. Our difficulty will be in negotiating the remainder of this year successfully before returning to a period of strong growth. Unfortunately the external factors affecting our current growth potential are largely outwith our direct control.”
On Scottish manufactured exports:
“Scotland’s manufacturing sector has been one of the key success stories during the course of the past four years. Much of this has been down to the relative weakness of Sterling and the attractiveness of our exports allied to the lean and efficient working practices adopted by the industry over the past decade. It is extremely welcome that export growth continued in the third quarter of last year but we know that our exporters have had a tougher time over the past three months and it will be difficult to better this growth in the fourth quarter. Scottish businesses continue to require support to consolidate domestic markets and to expand exporting towards new and developing marketplaces.”