Private sector 'performing very well in Scotland'
The latest Bank of Scotland Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) report has revealed that the country's private sector is in a very positive state of health.
Indeed, it saw continued growth in February, with the PMI measure climbing to an eight-month high of 52.5.
This is only a mild improvement on the equivalent figure of 52.3 recorded in January, but is another positive step in an ongoing and sustained growth period.
Expansion in private sector business activity also accelerated slightly - and the current sequence of growth has now been extended to five months as a result of the latest figures.
It comes as the UK as a whole is expected to experience a very slow period of economic recovery.
Chief economic adviser to the Ernst & Young Item Club Peter Spencer recently asserted that several factors are having a negative impact on the nation's economic performance.
A deteriorating fiscal picture in China, India and the US was cited as one of the key contributors to this trend, as well as the continuing debt crisis in the eurozone.
The Bank of Scotland found that input price inflation accelerated in February, coming off the back of a seven-month low registered in January.
It was the fastest rise experienced since last November - and output prices in the private sector economy were also indicated to have risen on average for the sixth time in the past seven months.
Donald MacRae, chief economist at the Bank, welcomed the improved figures, adding: "The manufacturing sector recorded a modest rise in employment while services maintained job numbers. The increase in new orders both in the domestic economy and for exports is particularly welcome. These results provide further evidence that the Scottish economy is avoiding a 'triple dip' and has started 2013 in growth mode."