Record number of people in work in Scotland – ONS

A record number of people in Scotland are in work, according to latest figures released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

” … early seasonally adjusted estimates for March 2023 from HMRC Pay As You Earn Real Time Information indicate that there were 2.44 million payrolled employees in Scotland, an increase of 2.1 per cent (50,000) compared with February 2020 (pre-pandemic) …” said the ONS.

” … median monthly pay for payrolled employees in Scotland was £2,237, an increase of 19.5 per cent compared with February 2020 (pre-pandemic). This is higher than the growth in median monthly pay for the UK over the same period (18.7 per cent).”

The ONS Labour Force Survey estimates for the December 2022 to February 2023 quarter showed the estimated unemployment rate (16 and over) in Scotland was 3% — down 0.7 percentage points since December 2019 to February 2020 (pre- pandemic) and down 0.3 percentage points over the quarter.

Scotland’s unemployment rate was the lowest since the series began in 1992 and below the UK rate of 3.8%.

The estimated employment rate, the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work, in Scotland was 75.7% — up 0.3 percentage points since December 2019 to February 2020 (pre-pandemic) but down 0.4 percentage points over the quarter.

The Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray said: “The record low unemployment rate for those aged 16 and over across Scotland and the relatively high employment rate for all 16 to 64-year-olds are welcome.

“The unemployment rate for men aged 16 and over was also a record low in the series.

“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.

“Our policies are supporting the creation of more high-quality jobs and we have increased the number of people earning at least the real, living wage.

“The Scottish Government is committed to getting even more people into work, including: parents, disabled people and those with health and caring responsibilities, through employability and skills support, high-quality early learning and school age childcare provision, as well as improving access to flexible working.

“However, certain industries still face recruitment challenges so we are continuing to call on UK ministers to establish a joint taskforce on labour market shortages.

“An urgent rethink of UK Government immigration policy is needed to enable increased access to the international labour and skills that Scotland needs for our economy and communities to flourish.

“With devolved powers on migration, Scotland could boost its 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.”

The UK government’s Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “It is welcome news that unemployment has fallen to a new record low and Scotland’s labour market remains resilient in face of significant economic challenges.

“The UK Government is working to stabilise our economy and last month the Chancellor set out a Budget which continues the cost-of-living support and will deliver sustainable, long-term growth, helping us halve inflation and reduce our national debt.

“The UK Government also has an ambitious levelling up agenda in Scotland and is investing more than £2.2 billion to level up communities across the country including the City and Regional Growth Deals.”