Scotland business

Scottish unemployment falls by 1,000

Factory worker Image copyright Getty Images

Scotland's jobless total fell by 1,000 in the autumn, according to official figures.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that unemployment had dropped to 112,000 between September and November.

UK unemployment fell by 3,000 to 1.44 million. Scotland's jobless rate stands at 4% - below the UK figure of 4.3%.

Meanwhile, Scotland's employment rate for those of working age fell by 0.2%, to 75%.

The total number in work north of the border now stands at just under 2.56 million.

Scotland's Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said: "These latest figures show 97,000 more people in employment compared to the pre-recession peak in Scotland's economy and labour market, with rises in the numbers of people in work over the quarter and the year.

"It is also encouraging to see youth unemployment and female employment rates continuing to outperform the rest of the UK."

In commenting on the latest export figures for Scotland, the UK government's Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "I cautiously welcome today's labour market statistics.

"But we know the Scottish economy continues to lag behind the rest of the UK, reinforcing the need to maintain our trade with the rest of the UK."

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Meanwhile, wages in the UK rose at their fastest rate in almost a year, according to the latest ONS figures.

But the 2.4% growth in wages remained below inflation, which stood at 3.1% in November - leaving real wages lower than they were a year earlier.

The Fraser of Allander economic institute said the labour market data showed that headline indicators "remained robust" over the period.

Stuart McIntyre, from the institute, said: "Scotland's unemployment rate is around its record low rate, and the employment rate is similarly around its record high.

"Nevertheless, economic growth remains fragile in Scotland. This is one reason why wage growth is muted.

"Wages are growing more slowly than inflation, meaning that while a near record percentage of the labour market are in employment, households budgets are feeling squeezed."

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