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Employment in Scotland reaches highest ever level

The latest unemployment figures have been released today (Danny Lawson/PA Wire)
The latest unemployment figures have been released today (Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

The total grew by 21,000 over the period September to November last year to reach the new record.

Scotland now has the highest employment rate of the four nations in the UK, with three quarters (74.9%) of people in work – the joint highest since records began in 1992 and above the UK rate of 74%.

At the same time as employment grew, unemployment fell by 19,000 over thequarter, according to the Office for National Statistics.

A total of 152,000 Scots were out of work over the period September to November, with this including those who are not eligible for benefits.

As a result, Scotland’s unemployment rate fell by 0.7 percentage points to stand at 5.4% – although this is still higher than the UK rate of 5.1%

The statistics also showed 64,300 Scots were out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance in December – a drop of 2,300 on the previous month and 20,400 lower than it was in December 2014.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “These positive figures mean more people in Scotland are in work, better able to support their families and contributing to our economic growth and security.

“The UK Government is delivering the foundations for a stronger and more resilient economy, and Scotland is benefiting from that.”

He cautioned: “We know that there is more to do, especially with the serious challenge posed by the fall in the oil price and the effect that will have on the north-east of Scotland and the wider Scottish economy.

“We will continue to work hard to deal with these challenges and the significant risks to our economy from uncertainties abroad.”

Roseanna Cunningham, the Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training in the Scottish Government, said the figures “reinforce the positive longer-term trends in Scotland’s labour market”.

She stated: “Employment has continued to rise and unemployment to fall – with more Scots in work than ever before. Youth employment figures continue to be strong, out-performing the UK statistics.

“However, we are not complacent and we recognise that a number of significant challenges remain beneath these encouraging headline figures.

“Though the unemployment rate has reported the largest quarterly fall since June-August 2014, it is still marginally higher than the UK rate and we will continue to do all that we can to ensure that this gap continues to narrow.

“In addition, the Scottish economy, like that of the UK, is continuing to feel the effect of headwinds such as a slowdown in global demand – a situation exacerbated by the continuing low price of oil and the effect this is having on the industry and its supply chain.

“Nevertheless, these figures indicate strong resilience within the Scottish economy and we will continue to channel every power at our disposal into promoting inclusive economic growth and fair work, increasing employment, lowering unemployment and removing any barriers to the jobs market which may remain.”