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Highest level of employment on record

Published: 17 Feb 2016 09:30

Unemployment level down five thousand over the quarter.

More Scots are in work than ever before according to the latest labour market statistics released today.

Office for National Statistics figures for October to December 2015 show that the overall employment rate increased to 74.8 per cent, outperforming the UK, and that the employment level of 2,636,000 was the highest on record.

A slight fall in the overall unemployment rate (down 0.2 percentage points) compared to the last quarter means that it now stands at 5.8 per cent, with the unemployment level falling 5,000 to 162,000 over the same period.

The figures also show that youth employment in Scotland is at its highest October to December level and rate since 2006 and that the youth inactivity level and rate also fell to their lowest October to December figures since 2006.

Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham marked the publication by visiting Vector Aerospace in Perth, where she was joined by Deputy First Minister John Swinney. Ms Cunningham said:

"This month's figures bring very positive news for Scotland's jobs market. While some volatility remains, the highest level of people in employment since records began demonstrates that we are on the right track with continued improvement in the latest quarter.

"Rising employment and falling unemployment are very welcome and an inactivity rate of 20.5 per cent is the lowest on record and the lowest out of the four UK nations. Our youth employment figures continue to be strong, out-performing the UK statistics, showing we are making progress with our commitment to better prepare young people for the jobs market.

"However, a number of significant challenges remain beneath these encouraging figures, such as the continuing low price of oil and the effect this is having on the industry and its supply chain. We will continue to work hard to help even more people towards jobs. We want everyone to be able to maximise their potential and that means supporting them into sustainable careers through a variety of paths.

"While the Scottish economy is feeling the effects of global economic conditions, we remain resilient and will continue to use every power at our disposal, including improved employability services from 2017, to ensure unnecessary barriers to the jobs market become a thing of the past."

Notes to editors

The full publication is available here.

For graphs containing more information on long-term labour market trends please go here.