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Record rise in employment

Jobless figure down in run-up to EU vote

JobCentreCompanies continued to hire staff in the run-up to the EU referendum in spite of reports of uncertainty, according to new data.

Scottish unemployment fell by 26,000 to 143,000 in the three months to end June – its lowest since 2009 – while there was a record increase in the number of people in work. Employment in Scotland increased by 51,000 to 2.63 million.

The unemployment rate is 5.2% against 4.9% for the UK, down 1% on the previous quarter and 0.4% over the year.

While the figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate a level of confidence in the run-up to the referendum, analysts will expect some tailing off as a result of the unexpected Brexit result and the greater uncertainty created.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell, said: “I welcome today’s positive figures showing a record increase in the number of people in Scotland in work, and the number of people out of work at its lowest since 2009.

“While we cannot be complacent as we enter a period of adjustment, today’s figures show that we enter the EU negotiations from a position of strength. Our continued priority must still be to work closely with the Scottish Government as ‘team UK’ to promote economic growth and prosperity.”

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “This latest fall in unemployment and rise in employment spell good news for the Scottish economy.  Our research amongst businesses suggests that they are continuing to invest in their staff even at a time when their overall levels of investment have slowed down.

“Clearly, these unemployment figures relate to a period prior to the EU referendum vote, and the outlook and pressures on businesses have changed since then.  If businesses are to maintain the confidence to invest and recruit, then it is vital that the Scottish and UK Governments continue to use every power at their disposal to support businesses at this crucial time.”

Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Analysis and Surveys, said: “Ahead of Britain’s vote to leave the EU, the UK’s jobs market remained in rude health, though vacancies have continued to tick down since the beginning of the year.

“The Bank of England was right to act swiftly to shore up confidence and keep money flowing through the economy. But businesses now need the Government to make ambitious decisions in the Autumn Statement that will secure the UK’s economic future as changes to trade, regulation and access to skills loom on the horizon.”

Headline statistics for the April to June 2016 quarter:

  • Employment in Scotland increased by 51,000 over the quarter, and by 14,000 over the year, to stand at 2,629,000.
  • The Scots employment rate increased over the quarter at 74.1%, against the UK average of 74.5%.
  • Unemployment in Scotland fell by 26,000 over the quarter and is down 12,000 over the year.  The level now stands at 143,000.
  • The Scottish unemployment rate is 5.2%, the UK 4.9%.
  • Economic activity increased by 24,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,772,000. Also, the economic activity rate decreased over the year to stand at 78.3%.
  • In July 2016, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance was 53,400 and claimant count, including Universal Credit was 75,700.

     

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