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Scottish Labour Market Statistics

16/11/2011

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show Scotland's unemployment level increased by 5,000 in the July-September 2011 quarter, and that Scotland's labour market continues to outperform the UK as a whole, with lower unemployment, higher employment, and lower economic inactivity rates.

This is the twelfth consecutive month of labour market statistics where the Scottish employment rate has been higher than the UK rate - and Scotland's employment rate is higher than any other nation in the UK. Over the year to July-September 2011, unemployment levels in Scotland have fallen by 14,000, with the unemployment rate declining by 0.5 percentage points. In contrast, UK unemployment levels increased by 172,000 over the year, and the UK unemployment rate increased by 0.5 percentage points.

Compared to the 5,000 rise in unemployment and the increase in the unemployment rate of 0.3 percentage points to 8.0 per cent in Scotland, there was a UK-wide increase of 129,000 in unemployment in the July-September quarter, with the UK unemployment rate rising by 0.4 percentage points to 8.3 per cent.

For the UK as a whole, unemployment levels are now at their highest since the three month period July-September 1994. In Scotland, unemployment levels are 22,000 lower than the recession peak in May-June 2010.

The statistics also show that Scottish employment levels (for the population aged 16+) decreased by 28,000 over the July-September quarter, with the employment rate now at 71.2 per cent. Across the UK as a whole the employment rate is 70.2 per cent for the same quarter.

Over the year, Scottish employment rose by 14,000, compared to a fall of 109,000 across the UK.

During the three month period July-September 2011, the economic inactivity rate in Scotland was 22.5 per cent, compared to the higher UK rate of 23.3 per cent.

The claimant count in Scotland fell by 900 in October - the second consecutive monthly decline in Scottish claimant count levels - compared to a UK-wide increase of 5,300.

The Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies are working to secure new jobs and investment to Scotland. This morning Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing visited the Inchinnan headquarters of growing business technology firm Amor Group, as they announce plans to create new jobs.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

"While the Scottish labour market continues to outperform the UK as a whole - with lower unemployment, higher employment, and lower economic inactivity rates - the increase in the number of people out of work reinforces the urgent need for the UK Government to deliver a 'Plan MacB' approach immediately, to ensure that the recovery being built in Scotland is not derailed by Westminster's wrong-headed economic policy.

"The UK Government must deliver real action in the areas where Scottish Government policy is making a difference: increased capital expenditure, improved access to finance for medium and small sized businesses, and the introduction of measures to boost economic confidence and income security.

"The Scottish Government and our enterprise agencies are working hard to secure new jobs and investment, and to retain Scotland's position as the most competitive environment for business in the UK, through measures such as the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

"Amor is the latest company to announce plans to create new jobs in Scotland. We have seen a series of positive jobs announcements from major companies in recent months, such as Avaloq, Dell, Amazon, FMC Technologies and Doosan Power Systems - and the prospect of further investment in key sectors on the back of the First Minister's recent visit to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

"Today's figures underline major concerns over youth unemployment, and the record 25,000 Modern Apprenticeship places this year and in each year of this parliament, and our 'Opportunities for All' programme - guaranteeing a training or learning place for all 16-19 year-olds - will help give our young folk the life chances and opportunities they deserve.

"The Scottish Government's 'Plan MacB' economic approach is helping to ensure that employment in Scotland is higher than for any other nation in the UK and unemployment lower. Unemployment in Scotland is 22,000 lower than at the peak of the recession in 2010, but for the UK as a whole joblessness is the highest since 1994. More needs to be done to strengthen recovery, and with control of all the economic and financial levers, the Scottish Government could do even more maximise our economic potential and Scotland's competiveness."