Jobless close to record low but interest rate may still be cut
Jamie Hepburn: ‘making Scotland’s workplaces fairer’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Unemployment in Scotland over the last quarter of 2019 fell to 3.5%, close to the record low and 0.3 percentage points lower than the UK rate (3.8%).
Business Minister Jamie Hepburn reflected the benefits of a strong and inclusive labour market.
Scotland’s employment rate rose over the quarter to 75% and remains close to the highest on record. This is mostly driven by a rise in the employment rate of women of 0.9 percentage points to 71.4%.
The unemployment rate for men fell to 3.3% – the lowest on record and lower than the UK’s (3.9%).
Across the UK Unemployment decreased by 16,000 to 1.29 million in the three months to December, according to ONS figures..
“As we set out in the Programme for Government, we will continue to make Scotland’s workplaces fairer through our work to tackle the gender pay gap, reduce the disability employment gap and demonstrate leadership in tackling race inequality in employment,” said Mr Hepburn.
Commenting on the solid figures across the UK, Thomas Pugh from Capital Economics, said they will provide some reassurance to the Bank of England.
“Overall, the strength in the labour market in Q4 will give some comfort to the MPC [the Bank’s monetary policy committee] that it was right to keep rates on hold at 0.75% at its meeting on 31 January,” he said.