The number of people in work Scotland has reached a record high, with official figures showing 22,000 more people found jobs in the last three months of 2015.
There were 2,636,000 Scots recorded as being in work in that period, making it the second consecutive month that official figures have put employment at its best ever levels.
Scotland’s employment rate rose to 74.8 percent and remained above the UK average of 74.1 percent, the Office for National Statistics figures stated.
The jobless total fell by 5,000 over the quarter to 162,000, but the Scottish unemployment rate continues to be above UK levels, with 5.8 percent out of work, compared with 5.1 percent.
Unemployment for the UK as a whole fell by 60,000 between October and December to 1.69 million, according to the ONS.
The numbers in work across the UK as a whole also reached a record high of more than 31.4 million people.
Almost three-quarters (74.8 percent) of Scots classed as being economically active are in work, compared to the rate of 74.1 percent across the UK as a whole.
The latest figures from the ONS also showed a drop in the number out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance. This fell by 3,200 from December to stand at 60,700 in January - a drop of 21,100 on the same month in 2015.
Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for fair work, skills and training, described the figures as “very positive”.
She said: “While some volatility remains, the highest level of people in employment since records began demonstrates that we are on the right track with continued improvement in the latest quarter.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell welcomed the figures but stressed there is “no room for complacency”.
He said: “It is welcome news that there are more people in work in Scotland than ever before and that economic inactivity has fallen to a new record low.
Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary, welcomed the increase in employment, but warned that many of the new jobs were too low paid and insecure.
He said: “It is good that the employment rate is now back to around its pre-recession peak but too many jobs created have been low wage and precarious. It is essential that policy at all levels of government focuses on the creation of sustainable, quality employment”.