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Unemployment Falls For Fifth Consecutive Month

14th August 2012

The latest labour market statistics, covering the three month period April to June 2012, show that for the fifth consecutive monthly statistics release employment in Scotland is rising and unemployment is falling.

Scotland continues to have a higher rate of employment, a lower rate of unemployment and a lower rate of economic inactivity than the rest of the UK. Scotland has a higher rate of youth employment, and this figure increased over the past year.

The labour market statistics, published and produced by the Office for National Statistics, show that unemployment in Scotland fell by 5,000 over the three month period April to June, with the rate falling by 0.2 percentage points to 7.9 per cent. The UK unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 8.0 per cent.

For the twenty-first consecutive month of labour market statistics, the rate of employment in Scotland is higher than the UK rate.

The headline level of employment, for the population aged 16 and over, increased by 12,000 during April-June. Scotland's headline employment rate, for people aged 16 to 64, rose by 0.2 percentage points to 71.6 per cent, remaining higher than the UK rate of 71.0 per cent.

The youth employment rate in Scotland was 56.3 per cent in April-June 2012, compared to 50.0 per cent in the UK as a whole, and increased by 2.3 percentage points over the year. The UK rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points. Over the course of the last year, 16-24 year olds saw the largest increase in employment of any key age group - up by 10,000.

The economic inactivity rate stayed the same in Scotland in April-June at 22.1 per cent, which is lower than the UK rate of 22.6 per cent.

In July, Scotland's claimant count fell by 800 to 142,600 - the largest fall since last October. The claimant count rate remains at 5.2 per cent.

Over the three month period Apr-Jun 2012, female unemployment in Scotland fell by 14,000. The female unemployment rate has decreased by 1.0 percentage points to 7.0 per cent - below the UK rate of 7.5 per cent. The female employment level rose by 11,000 over the same period to a rate of 67.5 per cent - higher than the UK-wide rate of 65.8 per cent.

First Minister Alex Salmond said:"These figures show that Scotland has a higher employment rate - for the twenty first consecutive month of labour market statistics - a lower unemployment rate, and a lower rate of economic inactivity than the UK as a whole.

"Scottish unemployment has fallen for five consecutive months of statistics, and the Scottish rate continues to be lower than the UK as a whole. The figures for youth employment show that the Scottish Government's efforts to help young people are paying off, and the rate of female unemployment is now below the UK average. However, while these are welcome trends, there are still too many people in Scotland without work, and more needs to be done.

"The Scottish Government and our agencies are doing all we can within our current powers to strengthen the economy, to create and bring jobs to Scotland, to stimulate growth and to create the most supportive environment for business in the UK.

"This includes a tax relief package worth over 500m this year, which has reduced rates for three out of five business properties in Scotland, and our plans to bring forward a further 105 million package of economic stimulus to create jobs and growth.

"These measures have had significant success. The latest Ernst and Young report showed that Scotland is the top performing location in the UK for achieving inward investment jobs. Recently, Aker Solutions announced plans to add another 500 jobs to its current 2,700 strong operation in the North East, on top of positive announcements from Enercon and Gamesa.

"However, it is clear that much more could and should be achieved, and the UK Government's repeated failure to give the green light to much needed capital investment is hampering progress.

"Time and again, this Government has argued for a stimulus to capital investment by the UK Government to boost the construction sector and wider economy. Scottish GDP would have grown in the first quarter of the year if not for the problems that the sector faces, and that is why I have repeatedly called on the Chancellor to invest an extra 5 billion in capital projects, including the 'shovel ready' projects that we have identified in Scotland.

"There is no doubt that with the full fiscal powers of independence, the Scottish Government could do even more to strengthen our economy. But in the meantime, we call on the UK Government to help, rather than hinder, the process of economic recovery."

Youth employment minister Angela Constance said:"I am very encouraged indeed to see a rise in youth employment of 10,000 in the last year. Clearly, there is much work still to be done, but today's figures demonstrate that our efforts in this area are starting to pay off.

"Barely a week after the exam results, this is an appropriate time to remind young people of our unique guarantee of a place in education or training for 16 to 19 year olds. Businesses too should be aware that there are thousands of young people out there, hungry for new opportunities and with a will to succeed.

"There is an opportunity out there for everyone, and by pulling together as a nation we can help maximise the potential of all our young people."

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