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Employment breaks pre-recession record

Published: 20 Jan 2016 09:30

Labour Market Statistics show record number of Scots in work.

The latest figures show the highest employment level for Scotland on record, with a 21,000 rise in the employment level compared to the previous quarter, taking the number of Scots in work to 2,631,000.

The employment rate has increased to 74.9 per cent, a lift of 1.2 percentage points over the quarter, reaching the highest employment rate on record for the second time since records began in 1992. Scotland now has the highest employment rate out of the four UK nations, and outperforms the UK as a whole.

ONS Labour Market Statistics for September to November 2015 also show that the number of people unemployed has fallen over the quarter by 19,000 – consistent with our longer term trends in falling unemployment since 2011. The unemployment rate also fell by 0.7 percentage points to reach 5.4 per cent. This is the largest quarterly fall in the unemployment rate since June – August 2014.

Economic inactivity has continued to drop, with the inactivity rate reducing by 0.7 percentage points over the quarter to reach 20.7 per cent, equalling the lowest inactivity rate on record and performing better than the UK figure.

Further progress was seen in the youth labour market. The youth unemployment level and rate fell to their lowest September-November figures since 2006.

Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham marked the publication by visiting Scottish Union Learning (SUL) in Glasgow - which supports unions in offering learning and development opportunities. She said:

"I am very pleased to note this month's figures, which reinforce the positive longer-term trends in Scotland's labour market, notwithstanding recent and ongoing volatility with Labour Market Statistics.

"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."

Notes to editors

The full publication is available at:

For graphs containing more information on long-term labour market trends go to: