The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Scottish employment level at record high

Unemployment level falls to below 150,000 for first time since 2009

The number of people in employment in Scotland has reached a record high of 2,625,000, according to Labour Market Statistics published by the ONS covering the period October – December 2014. These figures also show the level of unemployment fell by 15,000 over the quarter and has now reached below 150,000 for the first time since 2009.

Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary John Swinney welcomed the latest figures that show:

• Scotland is outperforming the UK with higher employment, lower unemployment and higher participation rates
• Youth unemployment fell to its lowest level and rate in five years, whilst youth employment increased over the year
• Inactivity rates are at the lowest on record at 21.3%
• Female employment increased by 20,000 over the quarter to 1,301,000 - the highest female employment level on record
• The female participation rate is also at a record high of 75.5 per cent, above the UK rate of 72.5 per cent

The Deputy First Minister said: “Today’s figures are hugely encouraging and demonstrate a robust, more inclusive and active Scottish workforce supporting our economy which in itself is going from strength to strength. We must remain absolutely focused on continuing to deliver those better economic prospects and vigilant about challenges within different sectors of the economy.

“Scotland is outperforming the UK on all three headline labour market indicators with employment continuing to increase and unemployment down. We have moved up two places in European youth unemployment rate comparisons at a time when we strive to create not just more, but better, jobs for those living in Scotland.

“Unemployment is now back to levels not seen since 2009 as the Scottish economy continues to recover.

“Female employment and participation are both at a record high, and above UK rates. The gap between male and female employment rates in Scotland has shrunk to a record low of 4.0 percentage points – compared to 9.5 percentage points in the UK. Not only is the employment rate in Scotland higher, we are also seeing more women in employment.

“This clearly demonstrates that the Scottish Government can do much to secure economic growth, tackle inequality and protect public services within the limited powers we have, but we want to – and can – do more.

“UK Government proposals for the devolution of support to the unemployed fall well short of what was promised, hampering efforts to address joblessness by devolving only a section of the current support network and leaving important levers to support people as soon as they become unemployed in the hands of UK ministers.

“We will be working closely with stakeholders to ensure these proposals are improved for Scotland and that they reflect the views of ordinary people.”

The Deputy First Minister continued: “The Scottish Government is committed to working with a range of partners to support all of Scotland’s young people towards and into employment. And it’s encouraging to see the youth unemployment level and rate fell to their lowest in five years, whilst the youth employment level increased. While we are approaching the pre-recession level of youth unemployment - a good benchmark - we have ambition to see this go much further.

“I strongly believe the public sector should lead by example and take forward the recruitment and training of young people by engaging with the education system to provide development opportunities for young people. Organisations such as Scottish Enterprise who are achieving the status of Investors in Young People set a good example and I hope to see more public sector bodies following their lead.”

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