Scots unemployment down to 4.4%, below UK

Unemployment in Scotland has fallen to 4.4% — below the 4.6% rate for the whole of the UK.

The Labour Market Statistics for January to March 2017, published by the Office for National Statistics, showed the number of people in unemployment in Scotland fell by 14,000 over the quarter to reach 120,000, with the level decreasing by 48,000 over the year.

The figures also showed that Scotland’s employment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points over the quarter to 74.0%, with the level rising by 5,000.

Over the year, the employment rate increased by 0.9 percentage points, with the number of people in work rising by 41,000.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “Today’s statistics show that Scotland’s labour market continues to perform well in the face of significant economic challenges.

“Unemployment is down, employment is up and Scotland’s youth unemployment rate is the fourth lowest in the EU.

“This is welcome news.

“We will work to support employment and our priority remains developing the correct conditions for economic growth, including through taking forward our multi-billion pound infrastructure plan, and the Scottish Growth Scheme.

“We will also continue to tackle issues around inactivity in the labour market.

“Many of these people are unavailable for work as they are students, looking after family or retired.

“Having a long-term illness or disability is the most common reason for those aged 16 to 64 falling into this category and our newly devolved employability services will guarantee a fairer approach to getting people into work, supporting those with health conditions and disabilities.”