Labour Market Statistics for 16 to 24 year olds: Scotland and the United Kingdom - January to December 2023

Statistics from the Annual Population Survey covering the period from January to December 2023.

Data and Methodology

Reliability of estimates

Estimates from the ONS Annual Population Survey for January to December 2004 through to January to December 2023 are presented. For the latest time period, the sample size is around 8,500 households in Scotland.

The ONS Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Annual Population Survey (APS) are sample surveys. As such, these estimates are subject to an associated sampling error that decreases as the sample size increases. It is the nature of sampling variability that the smaller a group is the (proportionately) less precise an estimate is. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have published a detailed guidance note on this. Shading is one method used by ONS to indicate where estimates should be used with caution.

Employees who were furloughed between April 2020 and the end of September 2021 were classed as employed, but temporarily away from work. This is consistent with labour market definitions outlined by ONS.

Confidence Intervals

Confidence limits can be used to assess the range of values that the true value lies between. 95 per cent confidence intervals for rates are included in all tables and charts.

What does the 95 per cent confidence limit mean?

If, for example, we have an APS estimate and confidence limit of 63 per cent ± 0.27, this means that 19 times out of 20 we would expect the true rate to lie between 62.73 per cent and 63.27 per cent. Only in exceptional circumstances (1 in 20 times) would we expect the true rate to be outside the confidence interval around the APS estimate. Thus the smaller the confidence limits, the more reliable the estimate is.

The confidence limits use a design factor of 1, which may not be likely in some cases but given the lack of further information an average design factor of 1 is assumed to be reasonable. Further information on estimating confidence intervals can be found in the LFS user guidance.

Statistical Significance

Statistical significance is based on 95 per cent Confidence Intervals. Statistical significance means that the change was large enough that it is unlikely to have resulted only from the variable nature of the sample.

Quality Assurance

Annual Population Survey microdata is collected and produced by the ONS. Scottish Government statisticians receive early access to perform quality assurance checks.

When producing estimates for this publication, Scottish Government statisticians conduct in-depth quality assurance.

These checks include:

  • analysis of the sample size obtained in the collection process
  • production of estimates from the microdata using statistical software and relevant coding
  • cross checking of coding between team members

Further checks relate to:

  • coherence across all data tables
  • crosschecking historical time series data with previously published results
  • benchmarking the results against other relevant data sources for this age group

The estimates in Table 1 of the associated spreadsheet are verified by colleagues in the ONS.

How to access background or source data

In addition to the estimates in this publication, detailed tables on labour market statistics for 16 to 24 year olds are available on the Scottish Government website.

ONS Annual Population Survey data for employment, unemployment, and economic inactivity by age for Scotland, alongside a range of other labour market indicators, are also made available on the Scottish Government Open Data Platform.

ONS also release rolling quarterly Annual Population Survey datasets covering the periods April to March, July to June, and October to September. The data for these time periods have not been used or presented within this publication. The data for these time periods are available on nomis.


These statistics are produced by Scottish Government Labour Market Statisticians. Labour Market Statistics is located within the Labour Market and Employability Statistics Unit, part of the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser. Labour Market Statistics are used for policy monitoring, research, services planning and delivery.

The APS is used to measure a number of indicators in the Scottish Government National Performance Framework (NPF). The estimates help to measure progress towards high level outcomes, Education and Fair Work and Business. Where possible, information on the NPF split by age is published on the Equality Evidence Finder.

The APS is also used to measure the overarching indicator and four other key performance indicators in the Young Persons Guarantee.

A range of labour market statistics for Scotland, including disability and ethnicity, are available on the Scottish Government website.


For enquiries about this publication please contact:

Labour Market Statistics,
Office of the Chief Economic Adviser
Telephone: 0131 244 6773,

For general enquiries about Scottish Government statistics please contact:

Office of the Chief Statistician

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