Unemployment falls

Latest figures underline importance of EU and single market membership.

The unemployment rate in Scotland has fallen by more than 1 percentage point over the quarter to reach 4.7% – and is now below the UK rate, according to the latest ONS statistics published today.

The employment level has risen 51,000 over the quarter to 2,631,000 – the largest quarterly rise on record.

Labour Market Statistics for May to July 2016 demonstrate the underlying resilience of the economy and the strength of Scotland’s labour market:

• The employment rate has increased to 74.1%, with the employment level rising 51,000 over the quarter
• The unemployment rate fell by 1.1 percentage points over the quarter to 4.7% and is now below that of the UK at 4.9%
• The unemployment level also fell by 29,000 over the quarter to reach 130,000
• Scotland continues to outperform the UK on female employment, unemployment and inactivity rates
• The youth unemployment rate fell by 2.8 percentage points over the year to reach 12.4%, outperforming the UK at 13.6%.

Commenting on the statistics while visiting Standard Life to meet apprentices, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown, said:

“As the First Minister stated when launching the Programme for Government earlier this month, the Scottish Government is determined to build an economy where everyone has a fair chance to contribute and share in the benefits of economic growth. These encouraging figures continue to show that the fundamentals of the Scottish economy are strong, with a 51,000 rise in the employment level and a drop of just over 1 percentage point in the unemployment rate over the quarter, taking it below that of the UK average.

“While these figures are welcome the Scottish Government is absolutely committed to taking further action. Our Labour Market Strategy shows that there is still more that we can and will do. As businesses continue to face the ongoing uncertainty created by the UK-wide vote to leave the EU, our planned £500 million Scottish Growth Fund is designed to support them, the workforce and the economy to grow. The fund will enable small and medium-sized firms to access investment that would otherwise remain out of reach.

“In addition, £100 million will be injected into our capital spending plans this year, providing a significant boost to the £6 billion worth of projects already under construction, and supporting activity and jobs in key sectors of the Scottish economy.

“However, there is no doubt that Brexit poses a real and direct risk to continued economic recovery in Scotland. These labour market figures continue to show the utmost importance of Scotland and the UK as a whole retaining membership of the European single market, which will enable us to build on this encouraging progress, and ensure that everyone in Scotland benefits from economic growth.

“The statistics also continue to show that Scotland is outperforming the rest of the UK in terms of youth employment and I am very pleased that the female employment rate has risen over the quarter, a testament to our work to ensure women have the same equality of opportunities in the labour market as their male counterparts.”

Notes to editors

The full publication can be read at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/regionallabourmarketstatisticsintheuksep2016


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