Skip to main content

22/01/14 09:30

90,000 increase in Scottish employment over year

Unemployment rate at lowest in five years.

Scotland is the best performing of the four nations of the UK in terms of unemployment and employment rates, according to new labour market figures which show for the period September to November 2013:

  • The unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent is the lowest since January-March 2009
  • Over the year the number of women in employment has increased by 62,000 - the largest annual increase on record
  • The largest annual increase in the employment level since April to June 2007.

The statistics released today by the ONS show falling unemployment and increasing employment levels in Scotland over the quarter to September to November 2013, with the number of people employed in Scotland up by 10,000.

The figures also show the youth labour market is performing strongly in Scotland, with a higher youth employment rate, lower unemployment rate and lower economic inactivity rate compared to the UK.

The Scottish unemployment rate fell by 0.9 percentage points over the quarter to 6.4 per cent. However, this was accompanied by an increase in the economic inactivity rate of 0.8 percentage points.

Today’s publication comes on the same day as new Scottish Index of Manufactured Exports figures published by the Scottish Government show export sales fell by 2.2 per cent in real terms during the third quarter of 2013, after strong growth over the first half of the year.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

“Today’s labour market figures provide more positive news for the Scottish economy, with the number of people in employment in Scotland continuing to increase, following on from last week’s strong GDP results. Scotland has a higher employment rate and lower unemployment rate than England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

“Consistent increases in employment levels show that the policies of the Scottish Government to create jobs and boost the economy are making progress.

“But we know that many employers continue to face what are very challenging conditions, as we have seen from today’s Manufactured Exports figures. Over the last 12 months, manufacturing is a sector that has seen growth but the recovery remains fragile as a result of European trading conditions and the Westminster Government’s continued pursuit of austerity.

“With the limited powers over the economy that we have at our disposal, Scotland’s economic health is improving but without the full powers of independence we cannot secure the greater levels of growth and employment that we need. The budget I will present later today will outline the measures we are taking in Scotland to tackle the effects of Westminster’s cuts.

“With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence, we can take a different approach to Westminster austerity and do more to strengthen our economy, boost our exports and create jobs."

Speaking at a visit to the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh to learn more about the hotel’s work to employ young people, Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said:

“The latest figures build on good progress and demonstrate that the Scottish Government’s action on youth employment is helping to support more young people into jobs.

“I am also delighted to see from today’s figures that over the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in female employment of 62,000 in Scotland – the highest increase on record.

“Sectors such as hospitality, as I can see today, offer good career paths for young people and I am pleased to see employers recognising the value young people bring to the workplace.

“While the youth employment rate in Scotland is stronger than the UK, we will continue to do all we can to maintain the progress that has been made.

“Our efforts so far have included a guaranteed offer of a place in education or training for every 16-19 year old, funding 25,000 Modern Apprenticeships each year and £29 million to create thousands of jobs in the third sector over three years.

“Scotland’s young people are an important part of our dynamic workforce and are keen to take advantage of the opportunities that are available. With continued assistance from businesses we will do all we can to provide these opportunities. To that end I would urge more employers in Scotland to make young people their business.

“We remain determined to make further progress. With independence, we would have control to implement measures that could further strengthen youth employment opportunities in Scotland, such as fully adopting the European Union’s Youth Guarantee. This would ensure an opportunity of a job, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship for every under 25 within four months of becoming unemployed and transform the lives of thousands of people in Scotland.”

Notes to editors

The latest ONS labour market statistics are available from:

The Scottish Government uses Labour Force Survey (LFS) data published by ONS to measure youth unemployment and employment. This is the most timely source of data on young people’s performance in the labour market and is the main source used for reporting at the UK level. The Annual Population Survey (which combines results from the LFS and the English, Welsh and Scottish LFS boosts) provides more reliable annual estimates but is not available on such a timely basis.

Further information on Exports statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: