Scotland’s unemployment rate increased slightly in the last quarter, according to the latest figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the unemployment rate between February and April for those aged 16 and over was 4.2%, a 0.1% increase on the previous quarter.
This was below the UK-wide rate of 4.7% for over-16s.
The employment rate for those aged 16 to 64 in Scotland was 74.2%, a 0.1% drop on the previous quarter.
There were 2,657 million people aged 16 and over in employment between February and April this year, while 117,000 in that age range were unemployed.
Scotland’s Employment and Fair Work Minister Richard Lochhead said: “For February to April 2021, over the quarter, Scotland’s employment rate estimate decreased slightly to 74.2% and the unemployment rate estimate increased slightly to 4.2%.
“Separate HMRC early estimates for May 2021, also published this morning, show there were 2.4 million payrolled employees in Scotland – 50,000 fewer than in February 2020, prior to the pandemic.
“These figures reflect some of the challenges faced in Scotland’s labour market to date but they do not reflect the full impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) or the outlook for employment, as the Job Retention Scheme continues to help support jobs. It is crucial the UK Government keep this scheme in place for as long as it is needed.
“The Scottish Government will continue to do everything we can to support employers and employees to recover and reopen at this time of exceptional disruption to our society, economy and labour market.
“Since the start of the pandemic, businesses have benefited from more than £3.6 billion in business support, more than a third of total Covid funding.
“To ensure we build a sustainable economy we must focus on employability and skills. In 2021/22 we will invest more than £1 billion to drive forward our national ambition for jobs and to equip our workforce with the future skills it needs.”
Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, said the UK Government is “entirely focused on recovery from coronavirus and added that the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, due to end on September 30, is continuing to support almost 270,000 Scottish jobs.
He said: “There are encouraging elements to today’s figures, but these are challenging times and we still have a lot to do to get people back into work and see our economy prosper again.
“The UK Government has acted quickly and decisively since the beginning of the pandemic to protect livelihoods and keep businesses afloat in every part of the UK.
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