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The statistics show that headline employment rose by 54,000 in the three month period January to March 2013. This is the largest quarterly rise in employment in Scotland since the start of the series in 1992.
Scotland’s headline employment rate, which refers to the population aged 16 to 64, rose by 1.1 percentage points to 71.8 per cent. This is the largest increase in employment rate of any nation or region in the United Kingdom in this release and Scotland’s employment rate is again higher than the rate for the UK as a whole of 71.4 per cent.
Over the three months January to March 2013 total unemployment fell by 7,000. The rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 7.3 per cent, with the figures now showing falling unemployment for the sixth monthly release in a row. The Scottish unemployment rate is lower than the UK rate, which rose by 0.1 percentage points to 7.8 per cent. The employment rate in Scotland is now higher and the unemployment rate lower than in any other nation of the UK.
The Scottish youth labour market continued its strong performance of recent months with the youth unemployment rate down 6.4 percentage points over the year to January to March 2013. The Scottish youth unemployment rate of 16.6 per cent is lower than the UK rate of 20.3 per cent and the Scottish youth employment rate increased by 4.3 percentage points to 56.3 per cent, higher than the UK rate of 49.4 per cent.
Welcoming the news First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Today’s figures show the largest rise in employment on record with an increase of 54,000 people in employment. Scotland also showed the largest quarterly rise in employment rate of all 12 UK countries and regions.
“Scotland is out-performing the UK with a higher employment rate and lower unemployment rate. And our youth employment rate is continuing to make encouraging progress with more young people in work and youth unemployment falling again.