UNEMPLOYMENT in Scotland fell by 11,000 between August and October as the number of women in work reached a record high, while the jobless figure for young people was at its lowest level for five years, new statistics showed.
The overall jobless figure in Scotland is now 44,000 lower than it was a year ago, with 156,000 people out of work over the period August to October.
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Unemployment for the UK as a whole fell by 63,000 to 1.96 million between August and October and was the smallest quarterly fall for a year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
There were 87,300 people in Scotland out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance last month - a decrease of 2,100 from the October total and 28,400 lower than November 2013.
Scotland saw a slight drop in the number of people in work, down 3,000 over the three months, but the employment total of 2,605,000 is still 152,000 higher than at the same time last year.
However, the number of women in work in Scotland increased by 21,000 over the period August to October to reach 1,288,000 - the highest female employment level on record.
Scottish youth unemployment fell to its lowest level for five years, with 67,000 18 to 24-year-olds out of work, a drop of 24,000 over the year, according to the ONS.
Scotland’s employment rate continues to be higher than that for the UK as a whole, standing at 74 per cent compared to 73 per cent, the figures showed.
There was also a lower unemployment rate north of the border, with 5.6 per cent of people out of work compared to 6 per cent for the UK as a whole.
Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for fair work, skills and training, said the new figures “demonstrate the success of the work we are doing to improve employment opportunities for all in Scotland”.
Ms Cunningham also hailed the rising number of women in work as “welcome evidence of our ongoing work on narrowing the gender gap”.
She said: “Once again Scotland is leading the way with the highest employment and economic activity rates and lowest unemployment rate of the home nations of the UK.
“I am particularly pleased to see youth unemployment in Scotland has fallen by 24,000 over the last year and is now at its lowest level in the last five years. That follows a dedicated focus by the Scottish Government and partners on improving work and training opportunities for young people who want to enter the workplace.”
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said the findings showed the UK Government’s long-term economic plan to boost job creation was working.
He said: “Today’s figures show Scotland’s labour market is continuing to strengthen with unemployment falling and over 28,000 fewer people claiming jobseeker’s allowance compared to 12 months ago.
“I am also delighted to see female employment reach a new record high and 17,800 fewer 18 to 24-year-olds claiming jobseeker’s allowance than two years ago.”
However, Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron said it was important to place the figures in context.
She said: “Over the past year, the private sector in Scotland has created nearly 73,000 jobs at a time when public sector employment has fallen by almost 38,000.
“This is good news since this is a healthy sign of some long overdue rebalancing of Scotland’s economy.
“Scotland’s private sector now employs over two million people, including a record number of women in employment, and this demonstrates the need for government policies at all levels to focus on enabling businesses to grow, to create wealth and jobs and to increase productivity.”
But Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress general secretary, said there was “little to get excited about” in the latest unemployment statistics.
He said: “Despite ‘another fall’ in unemployment, the unemployment rate reported today is actually higher than that reported in the June-August period. Employment also fell in the three months to October.”
Mr Smith added: “No new information was published today on the type and quality of jobs created over the last year. The STUC notes that full-time employment is still 80,000 below its pre-recession level and that part-time and under-employment remains at historic highs.”
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