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19/01/14 00:01

Employment in Scotland outperforms UK

Joint study shows increase in private sector employment.

Scotland’s employment rate is continuing to grow with the number of people working in the private sector rising by 75,800, an increase of four per cent, over the last year, a joint analysis of labour market trends has found.

The study, carried out by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), comes after Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures published last month showed that Scotland is outperforming the UK on all three labour market indicators of employment, unemployment and inactivity rates.

An extra 83,000 people were in employment in August to October 2013 compared to the same time in 2012; with levels of employment increasing for both men and women.

In addition, while real earnings have fallen, in Scotland they decreased at a slower rate than across the UK.

This report shows further strengthening in Scotland’s economy with the recovery accelerating, even against a backdrop of continuing economic challenges.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, said:

“The figures from our collaborative research with STUC are very encouraging showing that employment in Scotland continues to increase and our economic recovery is ongoing but we still have work to do.

“By carrying out regular joint work with Scotland’s trade unions we are able to take forward their recommendations on employment and understand the areas that need to be improved.

“This report indicates Scotland has a higher employment rate, lower unemployment rate and lower inactivity rate than England, Wales or Northern Ireland. As part of an ongoing trend employment in the private sector continues to rise with over 1.9 million people now employed in that area.

“The research gives us a better understanding of how well Scotland is doing in terms of employment and identifies which areas of society need the most help. We will continue to work collaboratively with partners such as STUC to maintain and build sustainable economic growth in Scotland.

“Earlier this week our Gross Domestic Product figures revealed Scotland’s economy continues to strengthen and we’ve recorded strong performance in construction, services and manufacturing.

“This just goes to show even with the limited powers over the economy at our disposal, the country’s economic health is improving. With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence, we can take a different approach focused on maintaining and building sustainable economic growth, do more to strengthen our economy and create jobs.”

Stephen Boyd Assistant Secretary of STUC said:

"The last six years have been particularly difficult for the Scottish labour market; not only did unemployment increase rapidly as would be expected in a recession, underemployment reached historically high levels and the fall in real wages since 2009 is simply unprecedented in modern times.

"It is encouraging that the labour market showed consistent improvement through 2013 but it's also important to note that employment remains significantly below pre-recession levels and unemployment - which is improving only very gradually - significantly above.

"It remains to be seen whether underemployment will constrain new jobs growth through 2014 as employers increase hours for those already in work. If the recovery is to continue gathering momentum it is also vital that real wages start to increase this year. Every effort must be made to continue tackling youth and long-term unemployment.”