Employment level (16+) in Scotland increased to the highest level on record

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Employment levels in Scotland during January to December 2016 reached a record high 2,579,700, while the employment rate for 16-64 year olds decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the year to 72.9%.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published statistics on Regional Employment Patterns in Scotland from the Annual Population Survey (APS). This publication presents annual estimates for a wide range of labour market indicators across local authority areas in Scotland for 2016.

The main findings for 2016 are:

  • While Scotland’s employment rate decreased, over the year,by 0.1 percentage points to 72.9%. 16 of the local authorities in Scotland saw an increase in their employment rate while 15 saw a decrease and one remained unchanged.
  • The employment level for men ( aged 16 and over) of 1,334,300 has increased by 13,900 over the year and is the highest level since 2008.*
  • The youth unemployment rate decreased by 2.3 percentage points over the year to 12.0 per cent in 2016.
  • The youth employment rate in Scotland decreased by 0.7 percentage points over the year from 56.4% to 55.7%. Over the year 19 of the local authority areas in Scotland saw an increase in their youth employment rates while the remaining 13 saw a decrease.
  • The employment rate for older workers (65+) has increased from 5.2% in 2004 to 9.1% in 2016. Over half of workers over state pension age (65+) in Scotland said they had not yet retired because they were not ready to stop working.
  • 8 per cent (757,000) of workers in Scotland aged 25-64 were graduates in 2016 – the highest on record.
  • The number of 16-19 year olds who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) in 2016, increased by 2,000 over the year to 26,000.
  • The employment rate for Equality Act disabled people (42.9%) is 37.3 percentage points lower than for non-disabled people (80.1%), this gap increases with age.

* The employment level for men aged 16 years and over was higher in 2008 (in the rolling APS data set ending March, June and Sept 2008).

Trends in Scotland’s labour market are monitored monthly using the quarterly LFS. Monthly briefings based on secondary analysis of this data are available from the Scottish Government website. As the quarterly LFS has a smaller sample size it cannot be used to monitor trends below Scotland-level so the APS remains the best source for local area labour market trends.

About the publication

The APS is an annual version of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the official source of many labour market and lifelong learning indicators for Scotland and its local authority areas. The publication provides a summary of data covering key indicators such as employment rates, underemployment (employed people who would be willing to work extra hours), rates of young people not in education, employment or training and economic inactivity.

The data in this publication covers the calendar year, January to December 2016.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


Read Regional Employment Patterns in Scotland.

Further information on Labour Market statistics.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland.



Media enquiries

Back to top