New Cabinet Secretary pledges to build on long term progress
Employment levels in Scotland reached a record high in 2015, new figures confirmed today.
Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown welcomed the statistics, but emphasised there was "much work to do" to create and protect jobs in light of challenging economic conditions.
From January to December 2015, employment rates for women also increased to the highest level since comparable records began and the gender employment gap also fell to its lowest level.
Youth employment rates increased, although the number of 16 to 19 year olds who were NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) in 2015 increased slightly over the year.
The figures come on the day that a report from Ernst & Young shows that Scotland secured a record number of investment projects in 2015, making Scotland the most successful UK region outside of London for overseas investment.
Mr Brown said:
"In 2015 we saw a continued strengthening of the Scottish Labour Market with more people getting into work and employment levels reaching a record high over the year. It was a particularly successful year for women's employment with the employment rate for women at the highest level since records began.
"In Scotland, the gender employment gap is now at its lowest ever level and below that of the UK, but we know it remains a persistent problem and I will take forward work to ensure that we can end the gender pay and employment gaps as soon as possible.
"We are also seeing encouraging progress with more young people finding work across most of Scotland, with the youth employment rate increasing by three percentage points last year.
"Within the first 100 days of this Scottish Government we will build on the progress we have made with a new Labour market strategy to focus our efforts and target a further reduction in youth unemployment.
"The Scottish economy has a number of fundamental strengths that will be crucial for the future. Increased inward investment, combined with a resilient labour market and talented workforce, is positive news for our jobs market and our economy as whole."
The full statistical publication can be accessed at http://gov.scot/Publications/2016/05/8208
Further information on Labour Market statistics within Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/topics/statistics/browse/Labour-Market
Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/About