Record number of people in work in Scotland, figures show

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A record number of people in Scotland are in work according to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The quarterly data released on Tuesday showed there were 2.4 million workers on payrolls across Scotland – an increase of 50,000 from February 2020.

Scotland’s unemployment rate fell by 0.1% between December 2022 and February 2023 to 3% – the lowest it has been since records began in 1992.

Rates of economic activity fell slightly to 75.7% of people aged 16-64, from 76.1% in the last quarter.

Scotland is also faring better with unemployment compared to the rest of the UK.

Compared with other UK countries, Scotland’s employment rate was second highest behind England and the unemployment rate was the second lowest at 3%.

The UK average employment rate was 3.8%.

Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021
Neil Gray MSP has welcomed the latest employment figures (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail)

He said: “The record low unemployment rate for those aged 16 and over across Scotland and the relatively high employment rate for all 16 to 64-year-olds are welcome.

“The unemployment rate for men aged 16 and over was also a record low in the series.

“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.

“Our policies are supporting the creation of more high-quality jobs and we have increased the number of people earning at least the real, living wage.

“The Scottish Government is committed to getting even more people into work, including: parents, disabled people and those with health and caring responsibilities, through employability and skills support, high-quality early learning and school age childcare provision, as well as improving access to flexible working.

“However, certain industries still face recruitment challenges so we are continuing to call on UK ministers to establish a joint taskforce on labour market shortages.

“An urgent rethink of UK Government immigration policy is needed to enable increased access to the international labour and skills that Scotland needs for our economy and communities to flourish.

“With devolved powers on migration, Scotland could boost its 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.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “It is welcome news that unemployment has fallen to a new record low and Scotland’s labour market remains resilient in face of significant economic challenges.

“The UK Government is working to stabilise our economy and last month the Chancellor set out a Budget which continues the cost-of-living support and will deliver sustainable, long-term growth, helping us halve inflation and reduce our national debt.

“The UK Government also has an ambitious levelling up agenda in Scotland and is investing more than £2.2 billion to level up communities across the country including the City and Regional Growth Deals.”

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