Record employment rise for Scotland
Scotland has seen the largest quarterly increase in employment on record according to the figures published by the Office for National Statistics today.
The statistics show that headline employment rose by 54,000 in the three month period January to March 2013. This is the largest quarterly rise in employment in Scotland since the start of the series in 1992.
Scotland’s headline employment rate, which refers to the population aged 16 to 64, rose by 1.1 percentage points to 71.8 per cent. This is the largest increase in employment rate of any nation or region in the United Kingdom in this release and Scotland’s employment rate is again higher than the rate for the UK as a whole of 71.4 per cent.
Over the three months January to March 2013 total unemployment fell by 7,000. The rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 7.3 per cent, with the figures now showing falling unemployment for the sixth monthly release in a row. The Scottish unemployment rate is lower than the UK rate, which rose by 0.1 percentage points to 7.8 per cent. The employment rate in Scotland is now higher and the unemployment rate lower than in any other nation of the UK.
The Scottish youth labour market continued its strong performance of recent months with the youth unemployment rate down 6.4 percentage points over the year to January to March 2013. The Scottish youth unemployment rate of 16.6 per cent is lower than the UK rate of 20.3 per cent and the Scottish youth employment rate increased by 4.3 percentage points to 56.3 per cent, higher than the UK rate of 49.4 per cent.
Welcoming the news First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“Today’s figures show the largest rise in employment on record with an increase of 54,000 people in employment. Scotland also showed the largest quarterly rise in employment rate of all 12 UK countries and regions.
“Scotland is out-performing the UK with a higher employment rate and lower unemployment rate. And our youth employment rate is continuing to make encouraging progress with more young people in work and youth unemployment falling again.
“The Scottish Government, our agencies and employers across Scotland have set a clear course for recovery. We are working hard to get people back into work and to create opportunities for our young people.
“The Westminster government’s continued pursuit of austerity over economic recovery is the biggest risk to Scotland’s economic recovery. Without the tools of independence to do the job properly Scotland risks being caught up in the UK’s slipstream. The Chancellor has the chance at the spending review in June to change his plans, accept his mistakes and learn the lesson that the key to economic growth is investment not austerity.
“One factor in our strong performance has been our success in attracting foreign investment to Scotland. Scotland has been recognised by the Ernst & Young Attractiveness Survey as the top destination in the UK for Foreign Direct Investment in terms of job creation for the last two years - having previously been named leading ‘European Region of the Future’ in the 2008/09 Financial Times annual FDI awards. It is vital that we don’t see a situation where jobs are jeopardised by the UK Government’s obsession with Europe.
“We are committed to maintaining and building sustainable economic growth in Scotland and delivering the most competitive business environment anywhere in the UK. With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence the Scottish Government could do yet more to strengthen our economy and create jobs."
Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance said:
“Today’s figures show yet again that Scotland has lower unemployment and higher employment rates amongst our young people compared to the UK.
“These figures are clear evidence that the action we are taking to support young people into employment, including the Modern Apprenticeship programme, is making a difference.
“Next week marks Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2013, an opportunity to raise awareness of the opportunities of an MA for both employers and young people. Ministers across the Scottish Government will be taking part in a number of events aimed at demonstrating the value that an MA can add to a business.”