Unemployment in Scotland has fallen by 14,000 over the three month period from September to November 2012, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics published today.
The figures also show that the youth unemployment rate (among those aged 16 to 24) saw the largest annual drop since the time series began in 2006 and is now the lowest level since March to May 2011.
Youth unemployment has fallen by 23,000 over the year to September to November with the rate decreasing by 4.8 percentage points to 19.9 per cent. The UK rate decreased by 1.7 percentage points to 21.0 per cent. This is the largest annual decrease in the youth unemployment rate in Scotland since the data series began in 2006. The youth employment rate in Scotland is 55.1 per cent compared to the UK rate of 51.8 per cent.
Scotland’s headline employment rate (for those aged 16 to 64) fell by 0.6 percentage points over the three month period from September to November 2012 to 70.6 per cent but the headline employment level (for those aged 16 and over) increased by 1,000 over the year. Scotland continues to have the fifth highest employment rate of all 12 UK countries and regions.
The claimant count in Scotland decreased by 1,400 over the month of December 2012, the second consecutive monthly fall. Over the year, the number of people claiming Jobseekers allowance fell by 4,400 to 137,500.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
“These figures show that unemployment in Scotland has continued to fall for the second monthly release. The strong performance in youth unemployment over the year is particularly welcome.
“We have lower youth unemployment, higher youth employment and lower youth inactivity than the UK. What’s more, this month’s release sees the largest annual drop in the youth unemployment rate since the data series began in 2006.
“However, we must continue to work to boost employment and the Scottish Government is taking direct action by investing in our infrastructure and maintaining the most competitive business environment anywhere in the UK.
“Our budget includes a tax relief package for business worth over £540m this year and bring forward a further £385 million package of economic stimulus.
“We are also targeting growth markets and growth industries and our efforts are paying off with today’s Global Connections survey showing that Scottish exports increased by by £1.6 billion to £23.9 billion in 2011.
"With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence the Scottish Government could do even more to strengthen our economy and create jobs."
Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance said:
“Today’s figures show that youth unemployment in Scotland is at its lowest level since March to May 2011 after falling for the second monthly release in a row.
“Our actions to improve youth employment rates have included a guarantee of a place in education or training for every 16-19 year old through Opportunities for All, funding 25,000 Modern Apprenticeships in each year of the current parliament and £8.5 million to create 1,400 jobs in the third sector through Community Jobs Scotland.
“This year we will continue our efforts by launching an Employer Recruitment Incentive which will give financial support to small companies willing to give young people a job. This is backed by £15 million of Scottish Government funding and by £10 million European Structural funding.
“Our young people’s fresh and modern thinking in the workplace will help drive our economy forward and we will continue to work hard to ensure they have the opportunity to do that.”