Record high in Scottish employment

More people in Scotland are in work as the latest jobs figures show an increase in employment to a record high and a fall in inactivity.

Scotland’s employment rate increased by 1.1 percentage points to 75.2% over the quarter, meaning 30,000 more people in employment, according to the Labour Market Statistics for April to June published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

There are now 2,650,000 people in employment in Scotland - 86,000 more than the pre-recession peak and above the UK rate.

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Over the quarter, the inactivity rate fell 0.7 percentage points to 21.8%. The unemployment rate fell over the quarter to 3.9%, below the UK figure of 4.4%

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said:

“These latest figures show continued resilience in our labour market with 30,000 more people in work compared with this time last year and the unemployment rate falling by 1.2 percentage points over the year. The employment rate has risen to 75.2%, its highest on record, with more people in employment than ever before, while the unemployment rate of 3.9% is close to record lows.

“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.

“It is also encouraging to see that we continue to perform strongly in female participation, with the female unemployment rate falling by 0.9 percentage points over the year to 3.6%. Scotland’s female unemployment rate continues to be lower than the UK rate. Youth unemployment has fallen from 14.6% since 2007 and now stands at 8.4%, and is now among the lowest of all EU countries.

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“These figures are encouraging but there is much still to do. A hard Brexit would cost our economy up to £11 billion 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.”

Commenting, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary Grahame Smith said: “With unemployment at record lows, you would expect wages to rise as workers grain greater bargaining power in the labour market. This clearly is not the case as real average weekly earnings have fallen across the UK by 0.5% in the 3 months to June 2017. Serious questions about the health of our labour market continue, which underlines the economic illiteracy of Government policies that hold down pay in the current economic context.

“The STUC has consistently maintained that we require a greater focus from Government on improving the quality of work whilst stimulating the economy. We need an immediate end to the public sector pay cap and a significant increase in real wages across the economy. The Scottish Government must use its tax and borrowing powers to invest in our public services and economic infrastructure. We desperately need a genuine industrial strategy that recognises the role of unions, building on the fair work framework to drive workplace innovation and the creation of productive, resilient and successful industries.”