Scotland's employment rate has reached a new record high
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Scotland's employment rate has reached a new record high, after the latest figures showed a rise in the number of people in work. Over the period October to December 2022 2,742,000 people aged 16 to 64 were in work - with this total up by 37,000 on the previous quarter and 89,000 higher than it was in the same period in 2021
That meant the employment rate for the last three months of last year rose to 76.6 per cent. The total is up from the 76.1 per cent that was recorded for September to November 2022, which had been the highest ever recorded since the labour force survey series began in 1992.
Scotland's employment rate was the highest of the four UK nations, and was above the 75.6 per cent recorded for the UK as a whole, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed. According to the figures, 93,000 Scots were unemployed over the period October to December last year - with this total 5,000 lower than the previous quarter and 19,000 less than it had been at the same point in 2021. The unemployment rate in Scotland was 3.3 per cent, lower than the 3.7 per cent recorded for the UK as a whole.
Employment minister Richard Lochhead said the record proportion of Scots in work - together with high employment rates for women - were "particularly welcome". But he warned there were still some industries that face "recruitment challenges", calling for action from the UK Government to help tackle these.
Mr Lochhead said: "The employment rate in Scotland remains high despite the turbulent economic circumstances including the continued impact of Brexit, high inflation and the cost-of-living crisis. The record high employment rate for all 16 to 64 year olds and the joint record high employment rates for women are particularly welcome.
"The Scottish Government's ambitious plans for Scotland's economy set out in our National Strategy for Economic Transformation are built on ensuring everyone can thrive in a diverse and inclusive workforce. Our refreshed Fair Work Action Plan published in December 2022 also brings together a number of strategies which demonstrate the government's commitment to fair work outcomes for everyone."
The minister however also stated that "despite the high employment rate, certain sectors still face recruitment challenges".
He continued: "The Scottish Government is doing all it can to work with businesses and organisations to alleviate them. The UK Government holds key powers over migration, visas and key parts of employment law and I repeat my calls for UK ministers to establish a joint taskforce on labour market shortages."