Jobs market strengthens
Record low Scottish jobless figure ahead of Brexit
Jamie Hepburn: ‘jobs market continues to strengthen’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Unemployment in Scotland has fallen to a record low of 3.5%, with 10,000 fewer claimants taking figure to 96,000, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
UK unemployment was little-changed in the three-month period at 1.36 million, or 4%, which is the lowest rate since early 1975. The UK unemployment rate for women has dropped below 4% for the first time ever.
The number of people in work in the UK has continued to climb, with a record 32.6 million employed between October and December. Scotland’s employment rate rose to 75.5%, close to the highest on record.
Weekly average earnings went up by 3.4% to £494.50 in the year to December – after adjusting for inflation, that is the highest level since March 2011.
Scottish Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Despite the huge and continued challenges of Brexit, the Scottish economy and jobs market continues to strengthen.
“Labour market outcomes for women and young people in Scotland once again outperform the rest of the UK. Scotland’s employment rate for women rose to 71.8%, higher than the UK rate of 71.4%.
“The employment rate for young people in Scotland rose to 61.6%, higher than the UK rate of 55.8%. Scotland’s unemployment rate for women fell to 2.8% and for young people, to 7.6%, both record lows and lower than in the UK.
“As good as these latest stats are, the UK Government’s Brexit plans, in whatever form, will cost jobs, make people poorer and damage our society.
“We will continue to call on the UK Government to immediately rule out the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and extend the Article 50 process. However, as a responsible government we will also continue – and indeed intensify – our work to prepare for all outcomes as best we can.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It is great news that unemployment is at a record low and more people than ever are employed.
“Scotland’s two governments are working together to strengthen our economy, with initiatives such as our growth deal programme beginning to reap rewards.
“I urge the Scottish Government to focus on using its extensive powers to ensure our economy thrives rather than making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK.”