New figures show Scotland’s unemployment levels fell by 16,000 over the most recent quarter to 129,000, with the rate down 0.6 percentage points to 4.7%.
Over the same period the employment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points to 73.7% with Scotland maintaining the second highest employment rate of the four UK nations.
The Labour Market Statistics for November to January 2017, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today, show Scotland continues to outperform the rest of the UK on youth employment and unemployment, with overall youth unemployment rates at the lowest level since records began.
Other key statistics include:
• The employment rate rose 0.4 percentage points over the quarter and there are now 2,608,000 people in employment – 44,000 more than the pre-recession peak;
• Labour market inactivity – those not in work and not actively seeking work – remained unchanged over the quarter at 22.6%;
• Scotland continues to outperform the UK on female employment and inactivity rates;
• Scotland continues to have the second lowest youth unemployment rate in the EU, behind Germany.
Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “While we still have much to do, our work to develop opportunities for young people through apprenticeships and training and to close the gender pay gap is helping us set ourselves apart from the rest of the UK. In terms of youth unemployment rates, we are second only to Germany within the EU.
“There is no doubt that businesses have faced increased economic uncertainty in the wake of the EU referendum result. We have set out our commitment to protecting Scotland’s interests, and will now take the steps necessary to ensure that Scotland has a choice of whether to follow the UK to a hard Brexit – or to become an independent country, able to secure a real partnership of equals with the rest of the UK and our own relationship with Europe.
“We will do all we can to support the Scottish economy, taking forward our £500m Scottish Growth Scheme - targeting high growth, innovative and export-focused SMEs; by supporting our universities and research base; and by investing in our £6 billion infrastructure plan. Next month we will start to deliver our newly devolved employment services which will help up to 4,800 people with health conditions and disabilities into work.
“These latest figures show Scotland’s labour market remains resilient with unemployment rates and levels falling, and our female and youth employment rates outperforming the UK overall.”