Scottish unemployment at lowest rate in 27 years

The unemployment rate in Scotland has hit a record low of 3.3 per cent - the lowest it has been since 1992.

The new figures from the Office of National Statistics show a total of 93,000 working-age people were unemployed from December to February, down from 101,000 between September and November last year.

Across the UK, the unemployment rate was 3.9 per cent - down by 0.1 per cent on the previous quarter and lower than at any time since the end of 1975.

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Finance Secretary Derek Mackay. Picture: PA

The statistics also show that employment is slightly up in Scotland by 0.3 per cent, with the total number of people employed rising to a record 2,688,000 between December last year and February 2019 - up from 2,671,000 in the previous period. Overall, Scotland's employment rate stands at 75.6 per cent. slightly lower than the UK rate of 76.1 per cent.

However, monthly claimant count numbers worsened in March, with 104,900 Scots claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and out-of-work Universal Credit - up by around 2,300 on the month of February and 19,900 up on the year before.

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay welcomed the unemployment figures and said: "Despite the huge and continued challenges of Brexit, the Scottish economy and jobs market continues to strengthen.

The unemployment rate in Scotland has hit a record low of 3.3 per cent - the lowest it has been since 1992. Pic: fizkes/Shutterstock

"While Scotland's economy and job market continues to grow, the UK Government's Brexit plans, in whatever form, will cost jobs, make people poorer and damage our society.

"It is essential the extension granted by the EU is used constructively and not wasted.

"The ongoing talks over the EU exit must include the devolved administrations, and for any deal agreed by the UK Parliament to be put to a second referendum. However, as a responsible government we will also continue our work to prepare for all outcomes as best we can."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell also welcomed the figures. “It is great news that unemployment in Scotland is at a record low, coupled with the rise in employment, there is a lot to be positive about," he said.

“Scotland’s two governments are working together to strengthen our economy and create jobs, with our growth deal programme reaping rewards across the nation. The UK Government’s investment in growth deals is now more than £1.35 billion, showing our huge commitment to growing Scotland’s job sector and economy.”

The statistics also show that the employment rate for young people in Scotland rose to 59.5 per cent over the year - putting it above the UK rate of 55.1 per cent. And Scotland's unemployment rate for women fell to 2.8 per cent, for men to 3.8 per cent, and for young people to 7.2 per cent, all rates lower than in the UK

Mr Mackay added: “Labour market outcomes for young people in Scotland once again outperform the UK. Scotland’s employment rate for women rose, over the quarter, to 71.8 per cent, the same rate as for the UK as a whole."