Unemployment in Scotland remains at an historic low with official figures published today finding the country’s jobless rate is 3.2 per cent, below the UK-wide figure of 3.8 per cent.
The latest labour market statistics from January-March found 75.4 per cent of those aged 16-64 living north of the Border were in work, a slight drop of 0.1 per cent on the previous three months.
But the survey also found that 22 per cent of adult Scots remain economically inactive, a rise of 0.3 per cent.
Year-on-year, the numbers in employment in Scotland have risen by 0.6 per cent, compared to the UK-wide increase of 0.5 per cent.
The figures also showed Scotland’s growing digital tech sector employs a record 58,000 people.
Welcoming the figures, Scottish secretary David Mundell said: “It is good news that unemployment in Scotland is at a record low, this really is to be celebrated. The UK Government is investing in Scotland’s economy and creating jobs.
“Our £1.35 billion city and growth deals programme is starting to reap rewards and will give Scotland a long-lasting economic boost.
“In the past month alone we have seen the launch of the new fleet of Caledonian sleeper trains and Highland Council’s broadband project shortlisted for the 2019 Connected Britain Awards.
“UK Government investment is having a real impact and I urge the Scottish Government to work with us and use their extensive economic development powers as effectively as possible.”
Business minister Jamie Hepburn said: “The Scottish economy and jobs market continues to strengthen.
“Labour market figures for women and young people in Scotland once again outperform the UK. Scotland’s employment rate for women rose to 72.0%, higher than the UK rate of 71.8%.
“The employment rate for young people in Scotland rose to 59.3%, higher than the UK rate of 54.6%. Scotland’s unemployment rate for young people, 6.6%, is a record low and lower than the UK.
“While Scotland’s economy and job market continues to grow, the UK Government’s EU exit plans, in whatever form, will cost jobs, make people poorer and damage our society.
“The Scottish Government has consistently been clear that the best option for the future wellbeing and prosperity of Scotland, and the UK as a whole, is to stay in the European Union.”
But Scottish Labour MP Paul Sweeney sounded a note of caution.
“Unemployment rate being low might have once been a reliable correlation with prosperity in an era of strong labour laws but underlying this figure is a chronic problem of poverty wages, insecure work and underemployment,” he said. “A bit less hubris and a bit more humility is thus required.”
Across the UK, the number of people in work continues to reach near record levels as fewer women retire between the ages of 60 and 65, although vacancies fell back in recent months.
Employment jumped by 99,000 in the three months to March, to 32.7 million, the third highest total since records began in 1971.
Unemployment fell by 65,000 to 1.3 million, continuing a general trend which started in early 2012.
The UK’s unemployment rate of 3.8% is now lower than at any time since the end of 1974, reported the Office for National Statistics.
Average earnings increased by 3.2% in the year to February, compared with 3.5% on the previous month.
There was a 98,000 increase in the number of EU nationals working in the UK in the first quarter of the year to a record high of 2.38 million.
Since the EU referendum in June 2016, the number of EU nationals working in this country has increased by 237,000.