By Martin Kelly
The number of people in work in Scotland rose by 24,000 between January and March, meaning there is now 2,482,000 people employed north of the border.
Figures released today also show that Scotland’s jobless total has fallen by 10,000 for the same period, the second successive fall, adding to the 12,000 decrease at the end of last year.
The fall in those unemployed compares with a UK wide drop of 45,000, meaning Scotland was responsible for almost one quarter of the total UK figures. According to the Office of National Statistics, the jobless total in Scotland now stands at 221,000.
Scotland’s headline unemployment rate for people aged 16 and over fell by 0.4 percentage points over the three month period to 8.2 per cent, the same as for the rest of the UK.
In Scotland the headline employment rate, which refers to the population aged 16 to 64, rose by 0.5 percentage points to 71.2 per cent. The UK employment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 70.5 per cent over the same period.
Scotland’s headline employment rate remains higher than the UK as a whole for the eighteenth consecutive month of labour market statistics. The employment rate for 16-24 year olds in Scotland was 51.9 per cent, 3.3 percentage points higher than the comparable UK figure of 48.6 per cent.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
“These figures show again that Scotland has a higher employment rate – for the eighteenth consecutive month of labour market statistics – and a lower rate of economic inactivity than the UK as a whole.”
Mr Swinney added:
“Today’s figures show that there are positive indications in the Scottish economy. Unemployment in Scotland remains lowers than in most other nations and regions of the UK, but further action must be taken. More capital spending is essential if we are to keep pushing jobs and recovery forward, and it is therefore imperative that the UK Government changes course and boosts infrastructure investment.”
Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance added:
“We are determined to improve the employability and life chances of our young people, and have guaranteed every 16-19-year-old a place in education or training through Opportunities for All.
“In addition to the £30 million announced to back up our commitment, we are investing almost the same amount again through European Structural Funds to fund a range of employability initiatives around the country.”
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore described the latest fall as “encouraging” and added:
“We still face difficult economic circumstances but taking action to tackle the deficit and create growth is helping create the confidence and stability we need to create and sustain jobs.
“We are also focusing on youth unemployment, which is currently higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK.
“We cannot afford to let up on our efforts in this area and I continue to work across government and with the relevant organisations to find ways to overcome the barriers facing our young people.”