Latest figures show Scottish unemployment down by 18,000

Unemployment in Scotland has fallen. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Unemployment in Scotland has fallen. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Unemployment in Scotland fell by 18,000 between March and May, according to official figures.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) puts the number of unemployed people north of the Border at 152,000.

Scotland’s jobless rate continues to be higher than that of the UK as a whole, at 5.5 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively.

The labour-market statistics also show employment in Scotland rose by 17,000 to stand at 2,625,000.

The Scottish employment rate increased over the quarter to 74 per cent compared with a UK average of 74.4 per cent.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It is positive that employment in Scotland has risen and unemployment has fallen during the second quarter of 2016. That means more people in Scotland enjoying the security of a regular wage.

“But with Scotland’s economy showing little growth over the past year, and the country’s unemployment rate still higher than the UK overall, there is no room for complacency.

“The UK government’s priority is working with the Scottish Government and other partners as ‘team UK’ to make sure that we get the best deal for Scotland and the whole of the UK in the forthcoming negotiations with the EU.

“Our new Prime Minister has made clear she is determined to make this a government of opportunity, standing up for ordinary working people, and building a better future for our country.

“That means everyone working together to promote economic growth and prosperity.”

Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse highlighted a rise in female employment and said Scotland was outperforming the rest of the UK in youth employment, with the rate now close to pre-recession levels.

He said: “While there is much to be welcomed from these figures, including 61,000 more people being employed now than at the pre-recession high point, we know there is more that we can and must do.

“The Scottish economy has strong fundamentals, but as businesses face uncertainty during negotiations over our relationship with the EU, we will not only work hard to protect Scotland’s relationship, but will strive to make the most of current and future opportunities in our economy as set out in our economic strategy.”

Separate GDP figures show that in the first quarter of 2016 the output of the Scottish economy was flat following growth of 0.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2015. That compares with growth of 0.4 per cent in the UK as a whole.

Between January and March services in Scotland grew by 0.4 per cent while production contracted by 1.2 per cent and construction by 1.5 per cent. Compared with the same period last year the Scottish economy grew by 0.6 per cent, with equivalent UK growth of two per cent.

The Scottish Government said the figures also showed overall growth of 2.1 per cent in the Scottish economy in 2015.