Scotland's economy is "gaining momentum" with improvements in both output growth and employment over the last year, according to a new government report published on Monday.
Over the year, Scotland has seen growth in output and a general improvement in all headline labor market indicators, with growing signs of a global recovery starting to take root in 2013, especially when compared to a disappointing 2012, said the report.
Output per hour worked (the key measure of labor productivity) in Scotland has risen and is now approximately 3.5 percent above pre-recession levels, while productivity measures have fallen during the recession in the United Kingdom, it added.
A permanent improvement in productivity in Scotland would allow for potentially stronger growth in Scotland once demand returns to previous levels, and the growth in output will be required to see a sustained recovery in the labor market, particularly in full-time employment, and to support improvement in real wages, according to the report.
Recent output growth and analysis of the underlying nature of the recession in Scotland suggest the potential for Scotland's recovery to take hold throughout 2013, with a return to pre-recession levels in 2014 across the economy as a whole.
Scottish government Chief Economist Gary Gillespie described a more positive environment for Scotland and its key trading partners, which can support a more sustained pick-up in investment, exports and growth.
For his part, Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said that the general outlook for Scotland is of an improving picture through 2013 with the recovery strengthening in 2014.
He reiterated that the most recent GDP data showed that the Scottish economy grew by 1.2 percent over the year to the first quarter in 2013 compared to 0.3 percent in the UK.
"This analysis suggests that the global economic outlook will continue to improve this year and Scotland can make the most of the opportunities that will come our way as a result," said Swinney.
While the recent economy report highlights the opportunities for Scotland, it also underlines the fragility of the recovery across the UK, he added.