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17/07/13 09:26

Scotland outperforms UK in employment and growth

Three percentage point fall in youth unemployment over the year

Scotland has a higher employment rate, lower unemployment rate and lower inactivity rate than any other nation in the UK according to labour market figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today. This comes as Scottish Government figures show a rise in GDP.

Youth unemployment continues to fall with Scotland performing better than the UK across all headline labour market measures for young people. The rate of youth unemployment in Scotland has decreased by three percentage points over the year to 17.8 per cent with the number of young people unemployed decreasing by 15,000 over the same time period.

Employment in Scotland has risen for the sixth consecutive monthly release. Employment levels rose by 4,000 in the three month period March to May 2013. The employment rate in Scotland rose to 71.9 per cent. During the same period the UK employment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 71.4 per cent.

The ONS figures come on the same day as Scottish Government statistics show that the Scottish economy grew for the fourth successive quarter with growth of 0.4 per cent during January to March 2013. Compared with the same quarter in 2012, the Scottish economy grew by 1.2 per cent, outperforming the UK where the economy grew by 0.3 per cent.

Scotland’s outperformance reflects growth in the services and manufacturing sectors. The figures also show that times remain challenging for the construction industry, with the sector contracting by 2.5 per cent over the quarter.

Commenting on the figures Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said:

"On employment figures, Scotland is outperforming the UK. The Scottish Government is keen that the whole UK does well but it is gratifying to see that the variety of policies that we have been pursuing are meaning we are starting to see our performance exceed that of other parts of the UK."

"Not only is the unemployment rate lower than this time last year, but the number of people claiming job seekers allowance has fallen to its lowest level since September 2009.

“Our youth employment rate is also surpassing that of the UK, with the number of young people in work continuing to rise.

“Scotland’s economy continues to grow faster than the UK with a strong performance across the business services and finance sector.

“We can build on these figures but we cannot allow Westminster’s continued pursuit of austerity over economic recovery to derail the positive developments we are seeing in Scotland.

“One factor for our strong performance has been our success in attracting foreign investment to Scotland. The recent Ernst & Young Attractiveness Survey showed Scotland achieving the highest level of inward investment in 15 years.

“We are committed to maintaining and building sustainable economic growth in Scotland and delivering the most competitive business environment anywhere in the UK.

“We are aware that it remains a challenging environment for the construction sector which is why the Scottish Government continues to lobby the UK Government to increase support for infrastructure.

“Against a backdrop of a 26 per cent cut to capital budgets by the UK Government, we are investing more than £10 billion in capital spending in Scotland, building homes, schools and transport projects over the next three years to promote growth, employment and opportunity.

“With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence the Scottish Government could do yet more to strengthen our economy and create more jobs.”

While visiting legal and wealth management firm Turcan Connell Group in Edinburgh, Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance said:

“These figures show yet again that Scottish young people benefit from a lower unemployment rate and a higher employment rate compared to the UK. This comes on top of recent figures showing nearly nine out of 10 school leavers move on to work, education or training and shows the millions of pounds we are investing in young people is paying off.

“The action we are taking includes investing almost £90 million in the Youth Employment Scotland Fund and the SME business growth scheme to get another 10,000 young people into real jobs while supporting businesses to create the jobs. This runs alongside our Opportunities for All policy which guarantees every 16-19 year old a place in education or training and our commitment to deliver at least 25,000 modern apprenticeships a year.

“Today I am visiting an organisation that has a strong record of giving young people a chance to make their mark through internships and Modern Apprenticeships. This is a great example of how employers can make young people their business and I am determined to work with businesses and partners to help more young Scots get a step on the career ladder.”

Notes to editors

The latest ONS labour market statistics are available from:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Labour+Market

The latest Scottish Government GDP statistics are available from :

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/GDP2013Q1

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.