Scotland has seen a new record-low unemployment rate, with figures showing a small increase in people in work.
Data from the Office for National Statistics showed 3.1% of people north of the border aged 16 and over were out of work from November 2022 to January this year, which totals about 88,000 people.
This was down 0.2% on the previous three-month period from August to October last year, and down 0.7% on the year before.
The lowest unemployment rate across the UK for this quarter was in the South West of England at 2.3% but Scotland, the North East (4.1%) and Yorkshire and The Humber (3.2%) all showed joint record lows for their respective regions.
The latest figures show Scotland’s employment rate for those aged 16 to 64 years is at 76.5%, which means about 2,633,000 people were in work between November last year and January.
This is a slight increase of 0.5% on the previous quarter (August to October 2022), and 2% more than in the same period last year.
It is, however, a small decrease on the final three months of 2022 when the employment rate stood at 76.6%, which was the highest recorded since the labour force survey series began in 1992.
Commenting on the latest statistics, Scotland’s Employment Minister Richard Lochhead said: “The low unemployment rate across Scotland and close to record high employment rates for all 16 to 64-year-olds are welcome but certain industries still face recruitment challenges.
“The Scottish Government is delivering on the National Strategy for Economic Transformation to create a fairer, wealthier and greener country, while ensuring everyone can thrive in a diverse and inclusive workforce.
“The UK Government holds key powers over parts of employment law and has refused to devolve powers on migration, which could boost Scotland’s workforce and tackle the recruitment challenges, many of which have been caused by the end of free movement and the hard Brexit imposed on Scotland by the UK Government.
“I have repeatedly called on UK ministers to establish a joint taskforce on labour market shortages. An urgent rethink of UK Government immigration policy is needed so there is increased access to the international labour and skills that Scotland needs for our economy and communities to flourish.”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “Today’s figures reflect that, although we still face significant challenges, Scotland’s labour market remains resilient.
“We have record numbers of people on the payroll and unemployment remains around historic lows.
“There is more to do to stabilise our economy and this week the Chancellor will set out the next steps in our plan to grow the UK economy, halve inflation and to cut debt.
“These will include measures to boost opportunity across the country, including expected support for Edinburgh’s festival economy, which contributes more than £300 million a year to the UK.”
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