Unemployment in Scotland at record low as economy confounds Brexit fears

The number of Scots out of work has fallen to a record low – while rising elsewhere in the UK.

Scotland’s unemployment total is now below 100,000 for the first time, while the number of over-16s in work has increased by 6,000 to 2.64 million.

Scottish Government business minister Jamie Hepburn said it showed the “resilience” of the economy north of the Border despite the political turmoil over Brexit.

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There are now 99,000 Scots out of work, the first time on record this total has fallen into five figures, according to official figures for September to November last year. Scotland’s unemployment rate of 3.6 per cent is also below the UK rate of 4 per cent.

There are now 99,000 Scots out of work

Mr Hepburn said: “The number of people in work across the UK is also booming and has reached a high of 32.54 million, but unemployment fell just 8,000 to 1.3 million. Despite the huge and continued challenges of Brexit, the Scottish economy remains resilient and our jobs market is strengthening.

“We remain committed to creating the right economic environment for jobs growth, however, Brexit remains the biggest threat to Scotland’s economic success.

“The UK government must now take urgent steps to rule out a no-deal Brexit, which threatens to have devastating consequences for jobs, businesses and communities, extend the Article 50 process and hold a second referendum on EU membership.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It is great news that unemployment has fallen to a new record low.

“I do remain concerned that in some measures there are less people active in the labour market. The UK government is working hard to boost Scotland’s economy including through our City Region Deals, in which we have committed more than £1.1 billion right across Scotland. I urge the Scottish Government to work closely with us to grow Scotland’s economy.”

Dr Stuart McIntyre, of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “These latest data for Scotland show that despite weak economic growth and heightened economic uncertainty, headline measure of labour market continue to perform well – with the unemployment rate hitting 3.6 per cent, its lowest rate since records began in 1992.”