Scottish unemployment falls


The number of people out of work in Scotland has fallen, according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Unemployment dropped by 7,000 to 219,000 between December and February, while the number of those in jobs now stands at almost 2.48 million.

Figures showed the unemployment rate was 8.1%, slightly above the UK average rate of 7.8%.

In the UK as a whole, unemployment fell by 17,000 to 2.48 million.

While the total of those out of work in Scotland fell on the quarter, it was 10,000 higher than the same quarter last year.

The unemployment rate fell 0.3% from the previous quarter but was 0.3% up over the year.

Meanwhile, the Scottish employment rate increased over the quarter to 71%, just above the UK average of 70.7%.

The claimant count in Scotland, based on the seasonally adjusted number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA), fell by 300 from February to 137,100 in March. The level was up by 1,300 on March 2010.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Today’s figures present further signs that Scotland’s economy is strengthening, and show the Scottish government’s robust actions to support jobs, skills and training are delivering real results.”

Mr Salmond said the data vindicated the SNP’s “decisive action” to support jobs and stimulate investment by deferring last year’s UK spending cuts, bringing forward work on infrastructure projects in 2008/09 and 2009/10, and maximising Scotland’s capital spending budget.

He added: “But while today’s labour market figures show further progress, we must continue to bring unemployment down.”