Scottish govt welcome record drop in youth unemployment

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The SNP is welcoming news that youth unemployment experienced the biggest fall in 20 years and unemployment in Scotland fell by 4,000 over the three months to January 2013, as shown by official statistics published today.

Scotland now has a lower headline unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent than the UK’s at 7.8% and a lower youth unemployment rate of 17.0% in Scotland compared to 20.6% per cent in the UK.

This is the fourth month in a row that shows unemployment in Scotland is falling and Scotland’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest in over three years.  Despite the drop in unemployment, it was due entirely to falling unemployment amongst men, amongst women, unemployment increased slightly.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed that employment rose in Scotland by 19,000 over the previous quarter, although there was also a slight rise in the number of people claiming jobseekers benefit, an increase of 300.  137,700 Scots are currently claiming the benefit, although this figure is still 5,200 than it was this time last year.

Finance Secretary John Swinney described the figures as a “welcome improvement” and said:

“Our headline unemployment rate is now at its lowest level for over three years.

“Employment is on the increase and our employment rate is the fifth joint highest of the UK nations and regions.

“Scotland now has a lower headline unemployment rate and higher youth employment rate than the UK as a whole.”

SNP MSP Marco Biagi MSP welcomed the fall in youth unemployment and said:

“These figures show that the SNP’s commitment to job creation and addressing youth unemployment is working. Unemployment has fallen by 4,000 and youth unemployment has fallen by levels not seen for over 20 years.

“Employment is on the increase and our employment rate is the fifth joint highest of the UK nations and regions.

“But there is no room for complacency. No matter how much progress is made, there can be no let up as long as even one young person needs help finding their way out of unemployment.

“The time when young people are starting out in their careers has a massive effect on their life chances, so it is absolutely critical that every support possible is provided.

“Looking at the improvements Scotland has made with its current limited powers, we know we could achieve so much more armed with the full economic and fiscal powers of a normal independent nation.”