Employment in Scotland is at the highest level since records began in 1992, statistics published today show.
Published by the Office for National Statistics, the latest labour market figures covering April to June 2014 show that total employment increased in Scotland by 63,000 over the year to reach 2,594,000 – the highest level since records began.
73.5 per cent of people are now in employment in Scotland, compared to 73.0 per cent in the UK.
Female employment has also reached a new record high with 1,250,000 women in Scotland in employment, an increase of 36,000 over the year. The female employment rate in Scotland is higher than the UK as a whole – 69.8 per cent compared to 68.0 per cent.
The figures also show that Scotland has a higher youth employment rate – 55.6 per cent compared to 51.6 per cent – than the UK as a whole and that the youth unemployment rate has decreased by 2.9 percentage points over the year to match the UK at 16.2 per cent.
The overall employment level has now increased over the quarter for 18 consecutive monthly releases, the longest ever unbroken run of increasing quarterly employment.
Over the year the number of people unemployed fell by 21,000, with the unemployment rate now standing at 6.4 per cent. The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance has fallen by 35,500 – or 27.6 per cent – over the last year.
Separately, the Scottish Government has today published its latest Quarterly National Accounts statistics for Scotland, which demonstrate the continued strength of the economy. Over the latest four quarters, total GDP including offshore activity has reached nearly £148 billion, and at around £27,700 per person is 10 per cent higher than the equivalent UK figure.
Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment Angela Constance said:
“We know that Scotland’s economy has returned to pre-recession levels and these figures show that our recovery is continuing to gain momentum, with unemployment down and employment at its highest level ever.
“I am pleased to see that youth employment has increased and that fewer young people are now unemployed in Scotland compared to a year ago. It is so important that our young people have the chance to get a foothold in the labour market and we want to see this figure continue to decrease.
“That is why we have extended the Youth Employment Scotland Fund, which now helps employers seeking to recruit those aged 16 to 30. In particular this will help those most at risk of being cut off from the labour market such as young working mums, care leavers and disabled people.
“Our ambitions are greater than this – that’s why we are taking forward the commitments set out by the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce to reduce youth unemployment in Scotland by 40 per cent by 2020.
“Female employment continues to increase and now sits at the highest level since records began and the female unemployment rate is at its lowest since May-July 2009.
“This government will always do everything we can to ensure women have the same opportunities in the labour market as their male counterparts, and have access to quality sustained work in careers they choose.
“As part of our recovery we must ensure that everyone is able to benefit from a growing economy. For example, our transformational plans for childcare will not just be good for children, but also their parents, giving them greater opportunities to enter work or training.
“These figures show that Scotland has the economic potential to be an independent country.
“With the full powers of independence we could do more to get people into work and give employers access to the skills they need to grow their business, strengthening our economy and creating jobs.”