Largest annual rise in employment since 2007
Employment in Scotland has risen by 92,000 over the year to Oct-Dec 2013 – the largest annual increase in nearly seven years.
The figure – driven by a 72,000 increase in female employment over the year – was published in new labour market figures from the Office for National Statistics which, along with increasing employment rates, also show falling unemployment.
Scotland’s employment rate remains ahead of the UK rate while the unemployment rate has fallen 0.1 percentage points over the quarter and 0.6 percentage points over the year to 7.1 per cent, remaining below the UK rate of 7.2 per cent.
First Minister Alex Salmond, who today announced an extra £4 million, on top of an existing £2.1 investment allocated by the Scottish Government will fund 1,200 new job opportunities for young people in 2014-15, welcomed the long term progress that has been made.
The First Minister said:
“Delivering the largest annual increase in employment levels in nearly seven years is a demonstration of this Government’s commitment to creating jobs and boosting the economy. Today that commitment is underlined by our further £4 million investment in Community Jobs Scotland’s work across the third sector.
“Every penny we have invested in our youth employment programmes, with partners such as the SCVO and Community Jobs Scotland, is money soundly invested in Scotland’s future workforce.
“While we are making good progress, we continue to do so constrained by a Westminster Government’s pursuit of austerity. We can go much further, as we have set out in our blueprint for independence ‘Scotland’s Future’.
“Only with the full fiscal and economic powers of independence can we can take a different approach, focused on maintaining and building sustainable economic growth, do more to strengthen our economy and create jobs."
Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance also addressed the SCVO Gathering, and announced another 255 job opportunities are being created as part of an ongoing phase of Community Jobs Scotland’s work.
Ms Constance said:
“Today’s figures show that, while the youth employment rate in Scotland is higher than the UK as a whole, we still have a long way to go to improve employment opportunities for young people in Scotland.
“This Government remains wholly committed to doing all we can, which is why we are working with Community Jobs Scotland to find work for young people, especially those from vulnerable backgrounds.
“These additional job opportunities will offer a starting point for young people across Scotland seeking a chance to get into employment. Initiatives such as this will, over time, help us address some of the most challenging issues associated with youth unemployment. We know there is still much more that needs to be done.
“With independence, we would have control to implement measures that could further strengthen youth employment opportunities in Scotland, such as fully adopting the European Union’s Youth Guarantee. This would ensure an opportunity of a job, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship for every under 25 within four months of becoming unemployed and transform the lives of thousands of people in Scotland.”
Ms Constance also welcomed the rise in female employment, which is the largest annual increase since 1992, attaining the highest female employment level ever of 1,243,000.
“Women are key to Scotland’s economic growth and seeing such a strong increase in female employment over the year follows the Scottish Government’s action to tackle the barriers faced by women seeking employment that have excluded them.
“That’s why the role women play in our labour market is at the heart of our vision for independence. The Scottish Government’s commitment to a universal childcare system would further significantly help raise women’s participation in the labour market, increasing flexibility and opening the door for more women in the workplace.”
The latest ONS labour market statistics are available from:
The Scottish Government uses Labour Force Survey (LFS) data published by ONS to measure youth unemployment and employment. This is the most timely source of data on young people’s performance in the labour market and is the main source used for reporting at the UK level. The Annual Population Survey (which combines results from the LFS and the English, Welsh and Scottish LFS boosts) provides more reliable annual estimates but is not available on such a timely basis.