Unemployment in Scotland falls below UK rate

Written by Tom Freeman on 16 August 2017 in News

Unemployment falls while employment rises in Scotland, amid warnings of wage stagnation

Unemployment - PA

Scotland’s unemployment rate has dropped by 0.5 per cent to 3.9 per cent, a figure below the UK rate of 4.4 per cent - the lowest UK rate since 1975.

The figure represents 12,000 fewer people looking for work in the three months to June compared to the January to March period.

The total unemployed figure in Scotland is now 107,000, according to the Office of National Statistics.


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Scotland’s employment rate, meanwhile, increased by 1.1 percentage points to 75.2 per cent over the quarter, representing 30,000 more people in employment.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said the figure was close to a record low.

“This is a further vote of confidence in our economy, coming after GDP figures showing Scotland’s growth rate was four times faster that of the UK over the last quarter, and recent reports of accelerating growth across the private sector,” he said.

“These figures are encouraging but there is much still to do. A hard Brexit would cost our economy up to £11bn a year from 2030, and 80,000 jobs over a decade. The Scottish Government will continue to do all that we can with the powers available to us to grow our economy, protecting and creating jobs.”

Andy Willox, the Federation of Small Businesses’ Scottish policy convener, said: “Today’s statistics highlight the resilience of the Scottish business community. Despite low business confidence and tightening profit margins, smaller firms are continuing to deliver new jobs and opportunities.”

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, welcomed the figures but said challenges remain for the economy.

“Strong labour market figures are still not translating into increased productivity or the sort of wage growth that we would normally be seeing with fewer people out of work,” she said.

“This persistent lack of increased productivity and wage growth will add further pressure on consumer demand, business margins and future business investment.

 "Additionally, Scotland's economic inactivity rate remains unchanged from the same period last year, adding further impetus to business and Government to invest in training and upskilling opportunities as a way of encouraging individuals to re-join the workforce."

Earnings growth across the UK remained well below inflation, falling 0.5 per cent in real terms year-on-year in the three months to June.

The ONS figures also showed the number of non-UK EU citizens working in the UK increased by 126,000 between 2016 and 2017.

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