Scottish unemployment total falls by 7,000

The Scottish jobless rate is 6.6% which is the same as for the whole of the UK

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Unemployment in Scotland fell by 7,000 over the three months to April and now stands at 183,000, according to official figures.

At 6.6%, the Scots unemployment rate is level with the UK as a whole.

Employment in Scotland increased by 16,000 over the quarter to stand at 2,578,000, the Office for National Statistics said.

The number of people claiming Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) fell by 2,300 between April and May.

That figure is down by 33,600 on a year ago and is at its lowest level since December 2008.

The number of people out of work in the UK as a whole fell by 161,000 to 2.16 million in the three months to April.

Meanwhile, the number of people in work rose by a record 345,000, to 30.5 million, most of whom are in full-time employment.

'Excellent figures'

Scottish Youth and Women's Employment Secretary Angela Constance said the latest data underlined Scotland's "strong and continued economic growth".

"Overall, this excellent set of job figures underlines the continuing recovery in the Scottish labour market," she said.

"However, we also know that, with full economic powers of independence, there is much more we could do to further strengthen our economy and give business access to the human skills they need to grow and to create even more jobs."

The UK government's Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, also welcomed the figures.

"Working together as part of the UK creates better opportunities, more secure jobs and record high levels of employment in Scotland," he said.

"I am delighted today's figures show there are a record number of women in employment in Scotland.

"More and more Scots are moving into employment or becoming entrepreneurs and the employers of tomorrow."

'Increasing confidence'

Responding to the figures, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said the latest fall was further evidence of increasing confidence in a strengthening economy.

Chief executive Liz Cameron said: "There has been a downward trend in unemployment for some time now and this has been accompanied by an increase in employment, which has grown by 48,000 over the past year.

"All of this is good news, but as the appetite of business for skilled workers grows, we must also ensure that the supply of skills matches emerging demand."

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