Scotland’s unemployment rate was 3.5% in the October to December 2019 period, compared to 3.8% for the UK as a whole.
Among men, the unemployment rate was 3.3% — the lowest on record and below the 3.9% rate across the UK.
Scotland’s employment rate for those aged 16 to 64 was 75%, compared to 76.5% across the UK.
Business minister Jamie Hepburn said an increase in female employment was the reason for Scotland’s employment rate being close to the highest on record.
Hepburn said: “These results show that, through our labour market strategy, Scotland continues to see the benefits of a strong and inclusive labour market.
“Scotland’s employment rate rose over the quarter to 75.0% and remains close to the highest on record.
“This is mostly driven by a rise in the employment rate of women of 0.9 percentage points to 71.4%.
“Over the same period, the overall unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, close to the record low and 0.3 percentage points lower than the UK’s (3.8%).
“The unemployment rate for men fell to 3.3% – the lowest on record and lower than the UK’s (3.9%).”
He said the Scottish Government will “continue to make Scotland’s workplaces fairer through our work to tackle the gender pay gap, reduce the disability employment gap and demonstrate leadership in tackling race inequality in employment.”
Hepburn added: “Today we have published a new careers strategy for Scotland, which will help people access the help they need to get into work or change their career and fulfil their potential.”
But he stressed the impact that the UK’s departure from the EU could have on jobs and the economy.
The minister said: “Of course, Brexit remains the biggest threat to jobs, businesses and our economy.
“That is why the Scottish Government has consistently been clear that the best option for the future well-being and prosperity of Scotland – and the UK as a whole – is to stay in the European Union.
“The latest Scottish Government State of the Economy report sets out that, even if a deal is reached, firms’ hiring intentions may remain weak this year and jobs growth and staff shortages in some sectors may worsen.”