Scotland’s official unemployment rate fell to a record low of 3.1% between November and January, according to new figures from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).
That’s below the UK unemployment rate of 3.7%.
The estimated employment rate in Scotland — the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work — was 76.5%, up 1.1 percentage points since December 2019 to February 2020 (pre-pandemic) and up 0.5 percentage points over the quarter.
Scotland’s employment rate was above the UK rate of 75.7%.
The estimated economic inactivity rate in Scotland — the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 years who were not working and not seeking or available to work — was 21%, down 0.6 percentage points since December 2019 to February 2020 (pre-pandemic) and down 0.4 percentage points over the quarter.
Scotland’s economic inactivity rate was below the UK rate of 21.3%.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney tweeted: “Formidable employment data in Scotland today; employment 76.5% (2nd highest ever), unemployment 3.1% (joint lowest), economic inactivity 21% (down 1.4% in a year). Scotland outperforms U.K. on all indicators.”
Scotland’s Employment Minister Richard Lochhead said: “The low unemployment rate across Scotland and close to record high employment rates for all 16 to 64-year-olds are welcome but certain industries still face recruitment challenges.
“The Scottish Government is delivering on the National Strategy for Economic Transformation to create a fairer, wealthier and greener country, while ensuring everyone can thrive in a diverse and inclusive workforce.
“The UK Government holds key powers over parts of employment law and has refused to devolve powers on migration, which could boost Scotland’s workforce and tackle the recruitment challenges, many of which have been caused by the end of free movement and the hard Brexit imposed on Scotland by the UK Government.
“I have repeatedly called on UK ministers to establish a joint task force on labour market shortages.
“An urgent rethink of UK Government immigration policy is needed so there is increased access to the international labour and skills that Scotland needs for our economy and communities to flourish.”