Unemployment fell 27,000 in past year

Unemployment in Scotland rose by 6,000 over the October to December 2016 quarter to 135,000, but the jobless level was down 27,000 on the same quarter in 2015, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The Scottish unemployment rate is now 4.9%, just above 4.8% for the whole of the UK.

The number of people in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,611,000.

The Scottish government’s Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “These figures are encouraging and show that Scotland’s labour market remains resilient.

“We are working to build an economy where everyone can share in the benefits of economic growth.

“It is therefore encouraging to note this rise in the number of people in work alongside some positive statistics on female and youth employment, where we continue to lead the UK.

“In terms of low youth unemployment rates, we are second only to Germany within the EU.

“Scotland enjoys resources few nations can match, including one of the most highly educated workforces in Europe, a long standing reputation for innovation and an internationally-recognised brand.

“There is no doubt that businesses have faced increased economic uncertainty in the months following the EU referendum result, and Scotland is not immune to these risks.

“We have set out our commitment to protecting Scotland’s interests, including maintaining our place in Europe’s single market, which is so essential to our future prosperity.”

The UK government’s Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, said: “There is cause for some cautious optimism about the state of Scotland’s labour market, with employment up and more women returning to the labour market.

“However, declining economic activity during the last 12 months, and the gap between the Scottish and UK labour markets, remains a concern.

“We have devolved a raft of new powers to the Scottish Parliament. It now needs to use those levers to strengthen the Scottish economy.”

more to follow …