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11/09/13 09:16

Employment at highest level in almost five years

Scotland has highest employment and youth employment rates in UK.

The number of people working in Scotland is at its highest level in almost five years, according to official figures published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The labour market figures published by the ONS show that the number of people in employment rose by 6,000, while the employment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 72.4 per cent in the three month period May to July 2013 – taking the number of people in employment in Scotland to its highest level since Autumn 2008.

The figures show Scotland continues to have a higher employment rate and lower inactivity rate than the other nations in the UK.

In the three month period May to July 2013 inactivity in Scotland decreased by 20,000, this decrease will be partly explained by more people in Scotland either starting work or looking for work, demonstrated by the 6,000 increase in the level of employment.

While unemployment rose over the quarter, over the year as a whole, unemployment fell by 19,000 and our unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent remains lower than the UK rate of 7.7 per cent.

Youth employment is also continuing to improve, with the number of young people working up by 11,000 over the past year. Scotland’s youth employment rate continues to be the highest of all nations in the UK at 57.2 per cent, compared to 49.8 per cent across the UK.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

“I welcome these figures, which show that employment in Scotland continues to increase. They also show a further welcome reduction in economic inactivity, showing that more Scots are actively seeking employment.

“Later today I will address parliament on Scotland’s budget. The Scottish Government remains committed to delivering ambitious programmes to support the recovery that will help our people, communities and businesses.

“The Westminster government’s continued pursuit of austerity is the biggest risk to Scotland’s economic recovery. The Chancellor had the opportunity at the Spending Review in June to change his plans, and recognise that the key route to deficit reduction is economic growth and the key to economic growth is investment not austerity.

“We are committed to maintaining and building sustainable economic growth in Scotland and delivering the most competitive business environment anywhere in the UK. With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence the Scottish Government could do yet more to strengthen our economy and create jobs."

Speaking on a visit to Edinburgh to outdoor play equipment specialist Jupiter Play to learn about the company’s graduate recruitment programme, Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said:

“I am pleased to see youth employment is continuing to improve in Scotland. While the number of those out of work remains too high, we remain focused on doing what we can to improve employment opportunities.

“We have worked hard to create training opportunities that will help those aged 24 and under gain experience and build up their confidence so they are in the best possible position to take up a job.

“Through Opportunities for All we have guaranteed every 16 to 19 year the offer of a place in training or education, we are funding 25,000 new Modern Apprenticeships every year and we have made funding available across the whole of Scotland to help small and medium sized companies create new youth jobs.

“As the UK’s only Minister for Youth Employment, I have visited several employers that are creating opportunities for young people to make their mark, including Jupiter Play today.

“Our recent Make Young People Your Business Week shows just how seriously this Government is taking the issue of youth employment and we will keep doing all we can to build on the momentum that has been generated.”

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.