Scotland’s Economy Shrank in Fourth Quarter Less Than U.K.

Scotland’s economy shrank by less than the U.K. as a whole in the fourth quarter because of an increase in output from the services industry.

Gross domestic product declined 0.1 percent over the three- month period and increased 0.5 percent when compared with a year earlier, the Scottish government in Edinburgh said in an e- mailed statement today. Services increased 0.2 percent.

In the U.K. economy overall, GDP decreased 0.3 percent in the quarter, the Office for National Statistics reported on March 28, as services companies cut output.

Scottish unemployment fell by 12,000, or 0.4 percent, between December and February, the Scottish government said in a separate e-mailed statement. It was the biggest drop in unemployment for more than a year.

Scotland’s unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in February. The U.K. rate declined to 8.3 percent in March from 8.4 percent a month earlier, the Office for National Statistics said in London today.

Scotland now has lower unemployment, higher employment and lower economic inactivity than the U.K. as a whole, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said in the statement.

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