Scotland’s employment level increased by 8,000 over the quarter to 2,611,000 and there are now 47,000 more people in employment compared to the pre-recession peak.
Labour Market Statistics for October to December 2016, published by the Office for National Statistics today, also show Scotland’s youth unemployment rate is the lowest since records began – the second lowest youth unemployment rate in the EU.
The employment rate has increased by 0.1 percentage points over the quarter to 73.6 per cent – meaning Scotland has the second highest employment rate out of the four UK nations.
The number of people seeking work in Scotland rose over the last quarter by 6,000 between October and December, to stand at 135,000.
Other key statistics include:
• Labour market inactivity – those not in work and not actively seeking work – has fallen by 8,000 over the quarter to 765,000, although it has increased over the year
• Scotland’s unemployment rate was down over the year by 0.9 percentage points to 4.9 per cent
• 27,000 fewer people were unemployed compared with a year ago. However, the unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points over the quarter
• Scotland continues to outperform the UK on female employment and inactivity rates while the female unemployment rate is the same as the UK’s.
Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said:
“These figures are encouraging and show that Scotland’s labour market remains resilient. We are working to build an economy where everyone can share in the benefits of economic growth. It is therefore encouraging to note this rise in the number of people in work alongside some positive statistics on female and youth employment, where we continue to lead the UK. In terms of low youth unemployment rates, we are second only to Germany within the EU.
“Scotland enjoys resources few nations can match, including one of the most highly educated workforces in Europe, a long standing reputation for innovation and an internationally-recognised brand.
“There is no doubt that businesses have faced increased economic uncertainty in the months following the EU referendum result, and Scotland is not immune to these risks. We have set out our commitment to protecting Scotland’s interests, including maintaining our place in Europe’s single market, which is so essential to our future prosperity.
“We will continue to support the Scottish economy, including by taking forward our £500m Scottish Growth Scheme – targeting high growth, innovative and export-focused SMEs; by expanding our small business bonus scheme, which will lift 100,000 business properties out of business rates; and investing in our infrastructure plan.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “There is cause for some cautious optimism about the state of Scotland’s labour market, with employment up and more women returning to the labour market.
“However, declining economic activity during the last 12 months, and the gap between the Scottish and UK labour markets, remains a concern.
“We have devolved a raft of new powers to the Scottish Parliament. It now needs to use those levers to strengthen the Scottish economy.”