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Highest employment rate in Scotland since 2009

12/06/2013

Scotland is outperforming the UK on all three labour market indicators of employment, unemployment and inactivity rates for both the headline statistics for the population as a whole and the statistics for young people, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics today.

The statistics show that the headline employment level rose by 47,000 in the three month period February to April 2013. This is an increase of 1.1 percentage points to 72.2 per cent, compared to the UK employment rate which fell by 0.1 percentage points to 71.5 per cent.

The figures now show falling unemployment for the seventh consecutive monthly release. Over the three months February to April 2013, the level of unemployment fell by 6,000. The rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 7.1 per cent, whilst the UK unemployment rate remained static at 7.8 per cent over the same period. 

The employment rate is now higher in Scotland than in any of the four nations of the UK, whilst the unemployment rate in Scotland is lower than in any of the four nations of the UK.

Scotland’s youth labour market continued its strong performance of recent months, with the unemployment rate falling by 6.1 percentage points over the year to February to April 2013.

The Scottish youth unemployment rate of 15.2 per cent is lower than the UK rate of 19.5 per cent. The Scottish youth employment rate increased by 4.0 percentage points over the year to 57.1 per cent, significantly higher than the UK rate of 49.7 per cent.

Youth unemployment in Scotland has fallen from 25.4 per cent when Angela Constance was appointed as Minister for Youth Employment in December 2011. Scotland now has one of the lowest levels of youth joblessness in the European Union, with only five EU countries now having a lower youth unemployment rate than Scotland.

Today’s figures coincide with the publication of public sector employment statistics by the Scottish Government which show a 1.4 percentage point fall in public sector employment and an increase of 60,600 people working in the private sector.

First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“Today’s figures mark another significant rise in employment, with an increase of 47,000 people in work across Scotland.

“Particularly welcome is the continuing fall in youth unemployment, which has fallen by 6.1 percentage points over the year, and which has dropped dramatically since I appointed Angela Constance as Youth Employment Minister.

“Today I have announced further measures to support youth employment, with an £88 million investment into work and supporting small business growth. This investment will help create 10,000 new youth jobs. This money shows our commitment to support young people in Scotland, and to work with local government and other social partners in a series of initiatives to provide employers with the help they need to create youth jobs.

“The Scottish Government, our agencies and employers across Scotland have set a clear course for recovery. We are working hard to get people back into work and to create opportunities for our young people.

“The Westminster government’s continued pursuit of austerity is the biggest risk to Scotland’s economic recovery. Without the tools of independence to do the job properly, Scotland risks having all the progress we have made undone. The Chancellor has the opportunity at the Spending Review this month to change his plans, and recognise that the key route to deficit reduction is economic growth and the key to economic growth is investment not austerity.

“Last week’s Ernst and Young UK Attractiveness Survey showed that foreign direct investment projects coming to Scotland in 2012 are at their highest level for 15 years. Scotland is ranked number one for inward investment projects outside London, up from number two last year and we have maintained our consistent place as one of the top performers when it comes to attracting employment.

“We are committed to maintaining and building sustainable economic growth in Scotland and delivering the most competitive business environment anywhere in the UK.

“With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence the Scottish Government could do yet more to strengthen our economy and create jobs."

Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance said:

“Today’s figures show that in the past year Scotland has seen a decrease in unemployment and increase in employment rates amongst our young people compared to the UK.

“These figures are clear evidence that the action we are taking to support young people into employment, including the Modern Apprenticeship programme, is making a difference.

“The support from companies to create jobs for our young people is a very welcome part of this success story. In May, we heard that B&Q will be opening a new £10 million superstore in Port Glasgow, creating 50 jobs and Lloyds Banking Group will be taking on 55 new apprenticeships in Glasgow as part of its wider plans to create 1,000 apprenticeships this year.

“These and similar positive announcements provide an encouraging backdrop for these young people leaving school, college and universities to enter the labour market.”

The Scottish Government uses Labour Force Survey (LFS) data published by ONS to measure youth unemployment and employment. This is the most timely source of data on young people’s performance in the labour market and is the main source used for reporting at the UK level. The Annual Population Survey (which combines results from the LFS and the English, Welsh and Scottish LFS boosts) provides more reliable annual estimates but is not available on such a timely basis.

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