Scotland’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in the last quarter, according to the latest figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate for people aged 16 and over between May and July was 4.3%, a 0.1% drop on the previous quarter.
This was below the UK-wide unemployment rate of 4.6% for over-16s.
The employment rate for those aged 16 to 64 rose to 74.1%, a 0.2% increase on the previous quarter.
The UK-wide employment rate over the period for that age group was 75.2%, up 0.5% on the previous three months.
There were 2,533 million people aged 16 to 64 in employment between May and July in Scotland, while 117,000 people in that age range were unemployed.
Scotland’s Employment Minister Richard Lochhead said: “For May-July 2021, Scotland’s employment rate estimate increased over the quarter to 74.1% and the unemployment rate estimate decreased slightly over the quarter to 4.3%.
“Separate HMRC early estimates, also published this morning, show 9,000 more payrolled employees in August than July 2021, however this is 25,000 fewer payrolled employees compared with February 2020, which reflects our gradual ongoing economic recovery from the pandemic.
“The Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to support employees and employers and we are carefully monitoring any impact on employment as the Job Retention Scheme unwinds at the end of this month.
“The furlough scheme has provided essential support to businesses and workers throughout the pandemic and is still needed as we move through recovery.
“We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to ensure furlough remains in place for as long as it is required but if it is removed, the UK Government must clarify as soon as possible what further assistance will be in place to support those most deeply impacted by the pandemic.
“In 2021/22 we will invest more than £1 billion to create jobs and ensure people have the skills needed to meet the economic opportunities of the future. We are also supporting our young people into work by providing a further £70 million for the Young Person’s Guarantee.”
The Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, said: “Today’s labour market figures have encouraging signs and, as we recover from the pandemic, we will continue to do all we can to get people back into work, support businesses and see the economy flourish again.
“Throughout the crisis the furlough scheme alone supported over 900,000 Scottish jobs and by the end of July this year, that figure was down to 116,000.
“People are getting back to work and our Plan For Jobs is aiding that process, while our Kickstart initiative is creating opportunities for young people.
“The unprecedented success of the UK Government-funded vaccine rollout is allowing us to move forward from restrictive lockdown measures. The UK Government remains focused on recovery from the pandemic.”
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