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Unemployment data

Scotland’s jobless tally falls below UK average

Scotland’s jobless total fell by 15,000 over the most recent quarter to 123,000, with the rate down 0.5 percentage points to 4.5%.

It is now below the UK average of t 4.7%,  according to the Labour Market Statistics for December to February 2017, published by the Office for National Statistics.

Other key statistics include:

• The employment rate recorded a small decrease of 0.1 percentage points over the quarter to 73.4% with 2,596,000 people now in employment – 31,000 above the pre-recession peak
• Female employment rates in Scotland stand at 70.1% which is above the UK
• Scotland continues to outperform the UK on youth unemployment rates and youth employment rates
• Over the year the youth unemployment rate fell by 6.9 percentage points to 8.9%, with 32,000 less young people unemployed compared to the same period in 2016

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “Despite economic challenges these latest figures show Scotland’s labour market remains resilient with unemployment falling and our female employment rates and youth unemployment rates outperforming the UK.”

Hugh Aitken, CBI Scotland director, said: “It’s good to see the number of people unemployed in Scotland fell by 15,000 in the three months to February. The unemployment rate also fell to 4.5%.

“But, the number of people in work remained broadly unchanged underlining the need for the Scottish Government to focus on policies that drive growth and support job creation. Improving educational attainment and setting a competitive tax regime to ensure Scotland continues to be an attractive place to do business and create jobs should be priorities in Holyrood.”

Scottish Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Any reduction in unemployment is welcome, but the increase in economic inactivity and the fall in the number of people in work is a worrying sign of the underlying problems in Scotland’s economy.

“We know that the real level of unemployment in Scotland is almost double the rate of the figures used by the Nationalists, when you look at both the unemployment figures and the number of people who are out of work but trying to return to employment.

“The picture on high streets and in communities across Scotland is clear – the SNP is not doing enough to create high quality, well paid jobs. Labour has been calling for months for a review of economic inactivity in Scotland – these figures show why this is so important.”

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