Employment up in Scotland

Posted on 16/07/2014 by


jobcentre (3)In a rare outbreak of agreement, both Westminster and Holyrood governments welcomed the latest employment figures published today. However Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said the figures show the Westminster government is making the right choices for Scotland, while Finance Secretary John Swinney countered that Scotland would perform even better with the full powers of independence.

Employment in Scotland has increased by 12,000 over the three months from March to May, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today. The number in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,587,000.

Unemployment in Scotland increased by 13,000, to 192,000 in the period March to May 2014. The Scottish unemployment rate is 6.9 per cent, which is above the 6.5 per cent for whole of the UK.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said: “We have seen positive developments over the year as a whole with 76,000 more Scots in employment and 13,000 fewer in unemployment. In June alone, the number of people claiming JSA fell by 4,000 and is now 35,500 lower compared to one year ago. Claimant count is now below 100,000 and at its lowest level since December 2008.

“Today’s news reminds us we need to continue creating the right conditions to get people into jobs. While it is disappointing to see unemployment rise at any time, the news comes against a backdrop of record overall employment, female employment and record private sector employment. The number of economically active people in Scotland is rising and the number of Scots claiming unemployment has now fallen for 16 consecutive months.

“This Government is making the right choices for a stable, growing economy and the jobs that come with it – those are the best choices for Scotland and the people who live here.”

Headline Statistics for the March to May 2014 quarter:

  • Employment in Scotland increased by 12,000 over the quarter, and increased by 76,000 over the year, to stand at 2,587,000
  • The Scottish employment rate remained unchanged over the quarter to 73.3 per cent. The rate is just above the UK average of 73.1 per cent
  • Unemployment in Scotland increased by 13,000 over the quarter and fell by 13,000 over the year. The level now stands at 192,000
  • At 6.9 per cent, the Scots unemployment rate is above the 6.5 per cent for the UK as a whole
  • Economic Activity increased by 25,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,779,000. Also, the Economic Activity rate increased over the quarter to stand at 78.8 per cent
  • In June 2014, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was 96,000

Responding to the latest labour market and GDP figures Finance Secretary John Swinney said: ““Today’s figures mark an important stage in our recovery.

“These positive output figures show that Scotland’s economy continues to go from strength to strength with growth of 1.0 per cent over the quarter and 2.6 per cent over the year – the fastest annual growth in over three years.

“Nearly six years on from the start of the financial crisis, our economy is now larger than before the downturn. Output in Scotland is at record levels and we have exceeded our pre-recession peak at least one quarter ahead of the UK.

“Over the last quarter the improvement in our economy has been broad-based with welcome signs of growth in manufacturing which was up 3.4 per cent and services which account for over 70 per cent of our economy up 0.9 per cent.

“Today’s output figures are supported by new labour market data which show employment has reached a new record in Scotland with our economic activity rate also hitting a record high.

“As the economy recovers more people are moving from inactivity into the labour market to look for employment. With this boost to economic activity it is not surprising that both employment and unemployment have risen over the quarter – albeit unemployment is still down over the year.

“These figures support the emerging body of evidence which all point to the recovery in Scotland continuing to gather momentum.

“Monday’s Bank of Scotland’s PMI survey indicated that private sector activity in Scotland expanded for the 21st consecutive month in June whilst the Fraser of Allander, ITEM Club and PWC have all revised up their forecasts for growth this year.

“There can be no doubt that Scotland has the economic potential to be an independent country. With the full powers of independence we could do more to get people into work, ensure everyone in Scotland is able to benefit from our national wealth and give employers access to the skills they need to grow their business strengthening our economy and creating jobs.”

Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment Angela Constance added: “While today’s figures show growth in Scotland’s economy, our ambition is to do better than to simply return to pre-recession levels of economic performance.

“It is encouraging that female employment continues to increase markedly with a higher employment rate than the rest of the UK.

“Although we continue to do better than the UK in terms of employment rates amongst young people and 90 per cent of school leavers are in positive destinations, our youth unemployment rate remains too high.

“This is why we support the principle outlined in the report last month by the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, that links between schools, colleges and employers can be strengthened, to be more aligned to student and business needs.”