Scotland business

ONS figures show Scottish employment at record high

Engineer trainees
Image caption The Scottish government said youth employment figures continued to be strong, outperforming the UK statistics

Employment in Scotland reached a record level between September and November, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics said 21,000 more Scots were in work, compared with the previous quarter, bringing the total to 2,631,000.

Scotland now has the highest employment rate out of the four UK nations, and is outperforming the UK as a whole.

For the first time, employment in Scotland is now higher than it was before the recession.

The rate north of the border reached 74.9% over the quarter - above the level of 74.6% recorded prior to the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, Scottish unemployment fell by 11,000 and now stands at 152,000.

The unemployment rate was down by 0.7% to 5.4% - the largest quarterly fall since the summer of 2014.

The UK jobless rate fell to 5.1% in the three months to November - its lowest rate since the three-month period to October 2005,

The number of people claiming Job Seeker's Allowance also fell by 2,300 from November to 64,300 in December. The figure is 20,400 lower than the same month last year.

'Positive figures'

Scotland's Fair Work Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "I am very pleased to note this month's figures, which reinforce the positive longer-term trends in Scotland's labour market, notwithstanding recent and ongoing volatility with Labour Market Statistics."

The SNP minister said: "Employment has continued to rise and unemployment to fall - with more Scots in work than ever before. Youth employment figures continue to be strong, outperforming the UK statistics.

"However, we are not complacent and we recognise that a number of significant challenges remain beneath these encouraging headline figures."

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Unions say men account for all the growth in jobs and most of the fall in unemployment

The UK government's Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "These positive figures mean more people in Scotland are in work, better able to support their families and contributing to our economic growth and security.

"The UK government is delivering the foundations for a stronger and more resilient economy and Scotland is benefiting from that.

"But we know that there is more to do, especially with the serious challenge posed by the fall in the oil price and the effect that will have on the north east of Scotland and the wider Scottish economy."

'Very positive'

Scottish Trades Union Congress general secretary Grahame Smith said: "There is no doubt that today's figures are very positive with a significant increase in employment and a similar fall in unemployment.

"It is noteworthy that the employment rate has now achieved its pre-recession peak.

"However, once again, men account for all the growth in jobs and most of the fall in unemployment.

"Given that there's no plausible explanation for the rapidly deteriorating relative position of women in the Scottish labour market, the STUC is concerned at the quality of the gender disaggregated statistics and would encourage ONS to reassess its processes in this respect."

Conor D'Arcy, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation think tank, said: "Scotland has reached an important milestone this morning, finally returning to the employment rate it experienced before the recession.

"However, with this landmark event coming some 15 months after England closed its 'jobs gap', there is still work to be done.

"The challenge now is to convert today's encouraging signs on employment into a sustained long-term trend. This will be essential if Scotland is to maintain its newly-acquired pay lead over England in the coming years."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites