Scots employment rate remains above UK level

Latest quarterly statistics show that the employment rate in Scotland remained unchanged at 75.2% — a near record high and just above the UK average of 75%.

Employment in Scotland increased by 2,000 over the quarter, and increased by 46,000 over the year to stand at 2,652,000.

Unemployment in Scotland increased by 2,000 over the quarter but is down 20,000 over the year and now stands at 109,000.

At 4%, the Scottish unemployment rate remains below the 4.3% rate for the UK as a whole.

Over the quarter, Scotland’s female employment rate increased to 72.1% — higher than the UK rate of 70.6%.

Over the year, Scotland’s youth unemployment rate decreased by 2.6 percentage points to 9.4%, lower than the UK rate of 13.2%.

Minster for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “These latest employment figures are encouraging and show Scotland has higher employment rates and lower unemployment rates than the UK with 88,000 more people in employment compared to the pre-recession peak.

“Youth unemployment rates continue to outperform the UK. This comes on top of us fulfilling our commitment to reduce youth unemployment by 40%, four years ahead of schedule.

“While these figures are positive we recognise there are still many barriers to getting people into work and are continuing to work to improve labour market conditions.

“Our new devolved employability support programmes are supporting people into work, whilst our ambitious new target to make Scotland a Living Wage Nation will promote fair pay.

“Today’s figures also show the Scottish labour market continues to perform well against a difficult backdrop, echoing the most recent State of the Economy Report which shows growth over the first half of 2017, with forecasts remaining positive for the future.

“However, the lack of clarity from the UK Government on Brexit poses the biggest threat to our economy and we will continue to call on the UK Government to give people and businesses greater certainty.”

The UK Government’s Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It is encouraging to see Scotland’s employment remaining close to record highs seen earlier in the year.

“However, the slight rise in unemployment is disappointing and shows there can be no complacency as we tackle Scotland’s economic challenges.

“With growth in Scotland continuing to lag behind the rest of the UK, I urge the Scottish Government to use their considerable economic levers more effectively.”