Record rise in employment as 51,000 Scots find a job

Scotland has had a record rise in employment with 51,000 people finding work across a three-month period.

The quarterly increase for the May to July period was the largest on record, according to official data from the Office for National Statistics. That meant employment stood at more than 2.63 million.

Alongside that, unemployment fell 29,000 to 130,000, its lowest level since 2008. The unemployment rate in Scotland is now 4.7 per cent, lower than the 4.9 per cent for Britain as a whole.

Scotland also did better than the UK in areas such as female employment and youth unemployment.

David Mundell, the secretary of state for Scotland, said: “These improvements put Scotland, and the whole of the UK, on a strong footing as we approach the negotiations to exit the European Union. But there is no room for complacency — we must make sure that we continue to work with the Scottish government and other partners to continue to boost Scotland’s economy and prosperity.”

Keith Brown, the cabinet secretary for jobs, fair work and the economy, welcomed the improvements in many areas but warned that there were clear challenges ahead.

“There is no doubt that Brexit poses a real and direct risk to continued economic recovery in Scotland,” he said. “These labour market figures continue to show the utmost importance of Scotland and the UK as a whole retaining membership of the European single market, which will enable us to build on this encouraging progress, and ensure that everyone in Scotland benefits from economic growth.

“The statistics also continue to show that Scotland is outperforming the rest of the UK in terms of youth employment and I am very pleased that the female employment rate has risen over the quarter, a testament to our work to ensure women have the same equality of opportunities in the labour market as their male counterparts.”

The latest data found that there were 53,500 people out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance in Scotland during August while the total claimant count rose to 77,300 when universal credit was included.

Across Britain the number of people without jobs and looking for work declined by 39,000 to 1.63 million. The proportion of people in work reached a record high of 74.5 per cent.

Separate data published by Scotland’s chief statistician showed that there were 545,100 people employed in the public sector in the second quarter of this year. That is broadly level with the April to June period of 2015.

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Meredith Weisser

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