First Minister Alex Salmond has welcomed an 11,000 fall – the eighth consecutive decrease – in Scottish unemployment over the three-month period March-May.
Scottish unemployment is now below the UK level for the first time 18 months and is at its lowest rate since September-November 2009.
The latest Labour Market Statistics also revealed Scotland now has a lower rate of economic inactivity than the UK as a whole. The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points during the three-month period, from 8 per cent to 7.6 per cent.
Total employment (for the population aged 16 and over) in Scotland has increased by 55,000 in the last 12 months. Scotland’s employment rate is currently 71.7 per cent –compared 70.7 per cent in the UK as a whole.
However, the claimant count rate in Scotland increased by 0.1 percentage points, or 1,500, to 5.3 per cent in June.
“These are positive figures, with employment in Scotland rising and unemployment falling at seven-times the rate as in the rest of the UK, but there can be absolutely no room for complacency.
Reacting to the release of the figures, Salmond said: “We now have lower unemployment, higher employment, and a lower rate of economic inactivity in Scotland than the UK as a whole – and the lowest joblessness rate in Scotland for 18 months, with the eighth consecutive reported fall. And this week’s PMI survey showed Scotland’s private sector expanding for the sixth consecutive month in June.
“These new figures demonstrate that the economic policy of the Scottish Government is delivering, and is continuing to create and safeguard jobs across our communities – with a series of positive employment initiatives in recent weeks, including from Gamesa, AWS Osean Energy, Ceridian, State Street, the plans for the Climate Change Centre at Edinburgh University, and Aquamarine Power’s new Oyster wave energy converter unveiled at Methil today.
“We have prioritised the role of capital investment as a key driver of recovery, and workforce jobs in construction have increased by 11.6 per cent in Scotland in the year to March, compared to a 0.2 per cent fall across the UK as a whole.
“However, as the increase in the claimant count demonstrates, more needs to be done to support jobs, secure investment and boost economic activity across Scotland – and these figures reinforce the need for a Plan B or flexibility from the UK Government in order to strengthen growth and recovery.”