UNEMPLOYMENT in Scotland fell by 15,000, to 152,000 in the period March to May 2015 with the jobless rate now standing at 5.5 per cent new figures showed.
However, the number of people out of work in the UK as a whole increased for the first time in more than two years as the numbers went up by 15,000 to 1.85 million in the three months to May, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
If we want a recovery that is built to last for the long-term, we need a better economic plan with more investment in skills, infrastructure and innovation to help job creation and growth.Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Frances O’Grady
The number of Scots with jobs increased by 1,000 during the same period, and was up by 40,000 over the year, to stand at 2,616,000 – an employment rate of 74.3 per cent that was above the UK average of 73.3 per cent.
In June 2015, the number of people out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) in Scotland was 74,600, down by 21,700 on a year ago.
Annabelle Ewing, Scotland’s minister for youth and women’s employment, welcomed the data, which showed a six-year low in youth unemployment, which fell 20,000 over the year.
She said: “Scotland was the only country of the UK where unemployment actually fell over the quarter.
“The 20,000 fall over the year in youth unemployment also means 20,000 more young people are now benefiting from the rewards and opportunities of work – something we are determined to improve on even further.” The number of people in Scotland classed as economically active fell by 14,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,769,000 – the category that covers all those involved in the “production of goods and services”.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the overall findings showed the UK government’s economic plan was working despite Britain’s first quarterly increase in the number of people out of work since the three months to March 2013.
Mr Mundell said: “Today’s employment figures confirm the decisions we are taking is creating a better, more prosperous future for the whole of the country.
“The latest figures on economic activity, also released today, show Scotland’s economy is growing in line with the UK. With businesses creating jobs, living standards rising strongly and the UK’s economy growing faster than any other major advanced country, this shows our long-term economic plan is working.”
Colin Borland, of the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland, said the Scottish economy was outperforming that of the UK, but called for additional help for small firms to boost job creation.
He said: “Scotland’s encouraging job figures stand in contrast to the UK’s headline joblessness increase.
“Further Scottish job growth will require extra work to tap the potential of small enterprise.”
Meanwhile, while the number of part-time workers fell by 97,000, the number of full-time workers increased by 30,000, the UK-wide figures showed.
However, Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Frances O’Grady called for more action to ensure jobs were well paid and better quality.
Ms O’Grady said: “While earnings are finally going up, pay rises are lower than before the recession and there is still a long way to go just for families to recover lost living standards.”