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Scotland's Unemployment Rate Falls Below 7 Per Cent

19 March 2014 

The number of people employed in Scotland increased by 15,000 over the most recent quarter, according to new labour market figures. Scotland has seen employment levels increase in every monthly release for 13 months, with the level of employment in Scotland now just 1,000 below pre-recession levels. Over the year, the employment rate in Scotland increased by 1.8 percentage points, with the number of people in employment increasing by 79,000 to 2,561,000, the highest since the pre-recession peak in March to May 2008.

The figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the period to November to January also show Scotland continuing to outperform the UK across all headline labour market indicators, with a lower unemployment rate, higher employment rate and lower economic inactivity rate.

  • The unemployment rate in Scotland now stands at 6.9 per cent, compared to 7.2 per cent in the UK as a whole. 
  • Over the three-month period to November to January the employment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 72.9 per cent compared to a UK rate of 72.3 per cent.

The latest figures were welcomed by Education Secretary Michael Russell during a visit to Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), for the announcement of a deal which will see the firm supply hundreds of new buses to National Express supporting employment at the Falkirk based manufacturer. Mr Russell said: "Today's labour market figures show that the number of people in employment in Scotland continues to increase, bringing the country close to pre-recession employment levels, whilst the unemployment rate has fallen to below 7.0 per cent. On all three key measures of employment, unemployment and inactivity rates Scotland continues to outperform the UK.

"This boost in employment, coupled with today's announcement of a deal that will see Alexander Dennis Limited supply hundreds of new buses supporting employment in manufacturing, underlines the strength of Scotland's economy across a range of sectors.

"The publication of the labour market figures is another measure of the success of Scotland's economy in 2014 and follows Monday's publication of the Bank of Scotland's jobs market barometer, which was at its second highest-ever level.

"In addition, last week's reports from the Bank of Scotland's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) and Federation of Small Businesses, both demonstrated increasing economic confidence among Scottish businesses. These surveys point to a sustained trend of growth in Scotland's economy, which is testament to the hard work of firms across Scotland and the policies of the Scottish Government to create jobs and sustainable economic growth"

Mr Russell continued: "Economic conditions remain challenging, in particular for young people trying to gain employment, however, the youth employment rate in Scotland is above that of the UK as a whole, and the Government is committed to improving opportunities, including our unique guarantee of an offer of a place in training or education for all 16 to 19 year olds, and 25,000 new Modern Apprenticeships every year.

"It is crucial that George Osborne does not undermine the Scottish Government's ability to support economic revival. Finance Secretary John Swinney has already urged the Chancellor to refrain from imposing any further cuts on Scotland, and I join the call for the Chancellor to take the opportunity of his final pre-referendum budget to change his policies and to support Scottish industry.

"With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence we can take a different approach to that of Westminster's austerity agenda, focused on maintaining and building sustainable economic growth to strengthen our economy and create jobs."

The labour market statistics can be found on the ONS website.

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