THE NUMBER of Scots out of work has fallen dramatically by 10,000, official figures have shown.
Wage levels have also overtaken cost-of-living hikes for the first time in five years, in a further boost for hard-up Scots.
Across the UK, unemployment fell by 115,000 to 1.96 million – the 18th consecutive quarterly fall.
There are now 164,000 unemployed people in Scotland, while the number people in work has jumped by 22,000 over the three months to September, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed yesterday.
This means about 2.6 million Scots are now in work and the unemployment rate of 5.9 per cent is just below the UK figure of 6 per cent.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Scotland is outperforming the UK on employment, unemployment and inactivity rates, which demonstrates the commitment of the Scottish Government in supporting our economy. The figures show that despite the global recession, the Scottish economy continues to
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Over the last year, female unemployment has fallen by 29,000 whilst female employment has increased by 45,000. The gap between male and female employment rates in Scotland has shrunk dramatically in the last two years whilst it has been stagnant in the UK. Scotland’s female unemployment rate stands at 4.8 per cent compared to a UK rate of 5.7 per cent.
Youth unemployment is down 13,000 over the year. However, at 56.7 per cent, Scotland has higher youth employment than the UK (53.8 per cent).
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said: “The [UK] government’s economic long-term plan is working and that means more opportunities across the country. People voted to stay part of a UK providing more jobs security and that is exactly what it is delivering for Scotland.”
Across the UK, employment increased by 112,000 in the latest quarter to 30.7 million, the highest since records began in 1971. Pay rises are finally topping cost-of-living hikes, after lagging behind since the financial crisis.
But unions said it would be years before earnings returned to pre-crisis levels.
Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: “The surprise rise in pay growth may be in part stemming from signs that the productivity of the workforce is improving.”
The Bank of England expects “real earnings” to keep outpacing inflation well into next year. Governor Mark Carney said inflation could fall below 1 per cent next year, while earnings growth would run at 3 per cent.
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