Section 5: Unemployment
5.1 Unemployment over time
Who is classed as unemployed under the
People aged 16 and over who are not in employment, would like a job, have actively sought work in the previous four weeks prior to their LFS interview and are available to start work within the next fortnight; or are out of work and have accepted a job which they are waiting to start in the fortnight following their LFS interview.
Chart 30: Unemployment Rate (16+), Scotland and UK
Scotland’s unemployment level and rate were the lowest on record
The unemployment rate in Scotland in 2017 was 4.1 per cent, lower than the UK rate of 4.4 per cent.
Over the year, the rate has decreased in both Scotland and the UK (down 0.7 and 0.5 percentage points respectively).
Scotland’s unemployment rate has decreased by 0.6 percentage points since 2007 while it decreased by 0.8 percentage points in the UK.
There were 111,200 people aged 16 and over who were unemployed in Scotland, a decrease of 18,400 over the year. This was mainly due to a decrease in the number of women who were unemployed, down 11,800 over the year.
5.2 Local Authorities
Model Based Unemployment ( MBU) Rates have decreased in 23 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities since 2007
In 2017, the highest MBU rates were seen in North Ayrshire (6.6 per cent), East Ayrshire (5.9 per cent), Inverclyde (5.8 per cent), Glasgow City (5.6 per cent) and Clackmannanshire (5.0 per cent). The lowest rates were seen in Orkney Islands (2.1 per cent), Shetland Islands (2.2 per cent), Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute and Dumfries and Galloway (all 2.8 per cent).
Since 2007, MBU rates decreased in 23 of the 32 local authority areas while 8 saw an increase in their unemployment rates and one remained unchanged.
Statistically significant decreases between 2007 and 2017 were seen in Argyll and Bute (down 1.2 percentage points from 4.0 per cent to 2.8 per cent), Dumfries and Galloway (down 1.3 percentage points from 4.1 per cent to 2.8 per cent), Dundee City (down 1.7 percentage points from 6.6 per cent to 4.9 per cent), Fife (down 1.6 percentage points from 5.6 per cent to 4.0 per cent) and West Lothian (down 1.4 percentage points from 4.8 per cent to 3.4 per cent).
Note: Sample sizes for the unemployed cohort are relatively small compared to the employed or inactive cohorts. Consequently unemployment estimates at local level can have large sampling variations. To improve the quality of estimates for all local authorities, the Office for National Statistics ( ONS) developed model based estimates.
Figure 7: Model Based Unemployment Rate 2017 16 year olds and over (per cent)
5.3 Gender and age
The unemployment (16+) rate for women in Scotland decreased by 0.9 percentage points from 4.4 per cent in 2016 to 3.5 per cent in 2017, while the unemployment rate for men also decreased over the year from 5.1 per cent to 4.7 per cent (0.5 percentage point decrease).
Chart 31: Unemployment Rate (16+) by Gender, Scotland
Since 2007, the unemployment (16+) rate for women in Scotland decreased by 0.9 percentage points from 4.3 per cent to 3.5 per cent in 2017, while the unemployment rate for men also decreased from 5.0 per cent to 4.7 per cent (0.4 percentage point decrease) over the same period.
The youth unemployment rate in Scotland decreased by 2.6 percentage points over the year to 9.2 per cent in 2017
The youth (16-24) unemployment rate in Scotland is the highest of all age groups at 9.2 per cent (lower than the UK rate of 12.1 per cent).
The youth unemployment rate in Scotland decreased by 2.6 percentage points over the year and by 3.1 percentage points since 2007, while the UK rate has decreased by 1.6 percentage points since 2007 and by 1.2 percentage points over the year.
Unemployment rates have been generally decreasing for all age groups between 2012 and 2017.
Chart 32: Unemployment Rate (16+) by Age, Scotland
46.1 per cent of all unemployed people (16+) in Scotland have been unemployed for 6 months or more
Of the 111,200 unemployed people in Scotland in 2017, 59,900 (53.9%) were unemployed for less than six months.
The proportion that have been unemployed for less than 6 months has decreased by 6.8 percentage points since 2007, indicating a shift to lengthier durations of unemployment.
Chart 33: Proportion of people (16+) who are unemployed by duration of unemployment, Scotland
Chart 34: Proportion of people (16+) who are unemployed by duration and age, Scotland
The 16-24 age group are least likely to be unemployed for more than 12 months (16.1 per cent), while those aged 50+ are most likely to be unemployed for 12 months or more (44.1 per cent).