Scottish employment numbers hit record high

0
Have your say

Employment in Scotland reached a record high last year, with an increasing number of over-65s still in work.

A total of 2,618,100 people aged 16 years and over were in employment in Scotland in 2017 - the highest level on record.

Scotland's recent population growth has been down to immigration. Picture: Jon Savage

Scotland's recent population growth has been down to immigration. Picture: Jon Savage

This included 84,700 people aged 65 and over who were still working, almost twice as many as there were ten years ago.

The figures, revealed in a new report on regional employment patterns in Scotland, showed the overall employment rate for 2017 was 74.3% - the highest ever but lower than the UK rate of 74.7% for last year.

READ MORE: Scots economy bounces back after North Sea recovery

Full-time employment reached a new record level in Scotland, with 1,910,600 people in Scotland in this type of job.

A total of 322,900 Scots were self-employed in 2017, close to the highest-ever level since the research began, with an increasing number of women opting to be their own boss.

The number of Scots aged 16 and older who were unemployed reached the lowest level on record at 111,200 in 2017.

Scotland's overall unemployment rate was 4.1%, below the UK rate of 4.4% - but the figures also showed almost half (46.1%) of all Scots who were out of work had been without a job for six months or more.

In addition, an increasing number of Scots were classed as being "economically inactive" - meaning they are not in work but are not looking for a job - a group which includes many students and people with caring responsibilities.

There were 768,900 people in this category in 2017, an increase of 15,100 since 2007. Scotland's rate of economic inactivity was also higher than the UK, at 22.5% compared to 21.8%.

The figures also showed lower employment rates for Scots who are either disabled or part of a minority ethnic population.

The proportion of able-bodied people in work was 81.2%, compared to a total of 45.4% for people suffering from some kind of disability.

Meanwhile, the employment rate among the white population was 75%, compared to 60.6% for those from a minority ethnic background.

Employability minister Jamie Hepburn said: "This is an historic record for employment in Scotland, demonstrating both the strength of our economy and labour market, and that the actions we are taking to grow Scotland's economy are delivering results.

"Closing the gender gap is a priority for the Scottish Government and key to achieving inclusive economic growth.

"We are addressing this through several routes, including expanding childcare provision, promoting flexible working and a Scottish living wage, addressing pregnancy and maternity discrimination and improving women's representation in senior management and boards.

"We are committed to helping disabled people reach their full potential, including having fair and sustainable jobs.

"I am committed to reducing the disability employment gap by more than half and the latest figures are encouraging and show we are heading in the right direction."

However Scottish Conservative economy spokesman Dean Lockhart said: "The SNP needs to admit the full picture when it comes to unemployment in Scotland.

"The fact is that the number of people who have never worked in Scotland has increased by almost 20% since the SNP came to power in 2007 and there are now more people who are 'economically inactive'.

"The SNP is desperate to cover up this worrying trend in Scotland's employment."

Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie was also critical, stating: "The fact is that in SNP Scotland nearly half a million Scots are paid less than a living wage and almost a quarter of a million are trapped in precarious work. "

READ MORE: Ruth Davidson: It’s the Scottish economy, stupid

Read more at: