Unemployment in Scotland drops to lowest rate since 2008 financial crash
Scotland's unemployment rate drops to 2008 levels according to official figures but inflation outstripping wage growth
Scotland’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in 25 years, according to the latest official figures.
A drop of 17,000 in the number of jobless Scots in the three months to April represents a 0.6 per cent fall in the rate to four per cent, last seen at the start of the financial crash in 2008.
However the Office for National Statistics also reported a real fall in average earnings, which grew 2.1 per cent, behind the new UK inflation figure of 2.9 per cent.
Scotland’s unemployment rate is the lowest out of the four UK nations, and lower than the UK rate of 4.6 per cent.
Meanwhile the employment rate in Scotland increased by 0.3 per cent in the same period thanks to 14,000 more people in work.
Female and youth employment rates remain higher than the UK average.
Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “Scotland’s unemployment rate is at its lowest rate since the recession and matches the lowest on record for Scotland since the series began. With the employment rate rising, it’s clear this is hugely positive news for our economy and the jobs market.
“Once again, despite adverse prevailing economic conditions, Scotland’s job market continues to be resilient and robust, with female and youth unemployment rates lower than the UK average.”
Hepburn added Brexit remains a threat to economic stability.
“The UK Government must now seek a broad consensus which would see us retain our place in the single market and in the customs union,” he said.
The Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, said: “Today’s figures show that Scotland’s labour market continues to improve and I am pleased that the unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest rate on record. But a number of significant challenges remain and I want to see Scotland’s economic performance improve, catching up with the rest of the UK.
“This is why it is more important than ever that Scotland’s two governments work together to help ensure Scotland’s prosperity.”
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce said the focus must be on productivity and skills.
Chief Executive Liz Cameron said: “Low productivity rates dictate that earnings growth may be unlikely to improve significantly over the short term and, with inflation having risen by more than expectations, the pressures on consumer demand, business margins and future business investment continue.”
Technology is predicted to be the fastest growing sector of the economy to 2024
The think tank is calling for more investment in skills and better career progression for low-skilled workers
The Scottish Government published its draft STEM education strategy in November and work is now underway on the final version
The Scottish Government needs to improve Scotland’s performance in science and technology