Scotland has enjoyed the longest period of unbroken economic growth on record since devolution in 1998 according to figures from the Scottish Parliament’s SPICe information unit

The data shows that in the ten quarters between the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2015, the Scottish economy grew continuously – albeit modestly – at between 0.1 per cent at its lowest (in the third quarter of 2013) and 1.2 per cent at its highest (in the last quarter of 2012). The average gross domestic product growth over the ten quarters was 0.6 per cent.

In the second and third quarters of 2012 the economy was at a standstill which means that for 12 quarters in a row Scotland has avoided negative growth – or recession, as it is more commonly called.

The new figures show particularly strong growth in the construction industry, which grew continuously from the last quarter of 2013, accelerating to 21.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2014 before reducing slightly to 21.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year. Over the last five years output from the Scottish construction industry increased by 30 per cent.

Another record was broken in the first quarter of this year by the contribution to the economy of public services, which accounted for half of the 0.6 per cent growth in Scottish GDP – which was larger than the UK growth figure of 0.4 per cent for the first quarter of 2015. Previously, government and other public services have never accounted for more than a third of total economic growth in Scotland.

The economist John McLaren of Fiscal Affairs Scotland said that, while ten quarters of continuous growth were “welcome”, the figures on construction growth needed to be treated with caution and could be revised downwards.

“Anything that grows by more than 20 per cent is hard to believe,” he said. “At the same time there has been no increase in employment in the construction sector which would mean that there has been an amazing productivity improvement."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “These figures highlight the on-going recovery of the Scottish economy. 2014 saw the fastest level of economic growth since 2006, unemployment is falling and real wages are up, all of which should feed through to household incomes.

“As our economy continues to strengthen, we will use every power we currently have at our disposal to grow the economy even further, increase employment, remove barriers to work and support household incomes.”