Scotland’s jobless at lowest since financial crash

Feb 19, 2015 12:00 AM

The number of people out of work in Scotland fell by 15,000 in the final three months of last year to its lowest level since the last recession, new figures have revealed.

Scotland’s jobless rate of 5.4 per cent at the end of 2014 was the lowest since the period covering late 2008 and early 2009, when a similar proportion of people were unemployed.

There were also sharp rises in the number of women and young people in work in Scotland at the end of last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures said.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the fall in Scotland’s unemployment to 149,000 – a six-year low – showed the economy was going from “strength to strength”.

Jobless figures for the UK as a whole fell to the lowest level in almost seven years, with the unemployment total dropping by 97,000 in the quarter to last December to 1.86 million – ­almost half a million down on a year ago. The UK’s overall unemployment rate was 5.7 per cent.

The number of Scots in work also rose by 20,000 during the quarter, up 63,000 over the year to stand at 2,625,000.

Women’s employment in Scotland increased by 20,000 over the quarter to 1,301,000 – the highest level on record. The participation rate for women in Scotland’s workforce also reached an all-time high of 75.5 per cent, above the UK rate of 72.5 per cent, the ONS found.

Youth unemployment in Scotland also fell to its lowest level in five years, with 59,000 people aged between 16 and 24 years old unemployed at the end of the quarter. Employment in that age group also increased over the year, by 28,000 to 350,000.

Scotland’s jobless total of 149,000, which includes those out of work and not eligible for benefits, is 48,000 less than the same period the previous year.

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