Scottish Unemployment Down 15,000

15 July 2015, 12:29 | Updated: 15 July 2015, 12:32

Unemployment in Scotland fell by 15,000 to 152,000 in the three months to May, according to new statistics.

The number of people unemployed was down by 39,000 compared to the same quarter last year.

The Scottish unemployment rate is now 5.5%, just below the rate of 5.6% for the whole of the UK.

The figures also show employment increased slightly by 1,000 during the same three-month period.

This represented a rise of 40,000 compared to the same period in 2014.

The number of those in employment in Scotland now totals 2,616,000, and the Scottish employment rate now stands at 74.3%, above the UK average of 73.3%.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "Today's employment figures confirm the decisions we are taking are creating a better, more prosperous future for the whole of the country.

"Last week's Budget rewards work, backs aspiration, ensures fairness to taxpayers and gives businesses confidence to invest, to grow and to hire in the months and years ahead.

"The national living wage is an essential part of our move to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society. Rising to over £9 an hour by 2020, this will outstrip the First Minister's own ambition to have a national minimum wage of £8.70 an hour by 2020.

"This is a Government working to ensure every part of the country benefits from a growing economy whilst also ensuring future generations are not burdened by a debt run up by previous governments in this generation. We have a job to do and we're here to get on with it.''

Scotland's Minister for Youth and Women's Employment Annabelle Ewing hailed figures which show youth unemployment is down by 20,000, a six-year low, while youth employment is up to 363,000 - the highest level since records began for the March-May period in 2002.

Separate figures show the Scottish economy grew by 0.6% in the first three months of this year - the same growth rate as the last three months of 2014 and slightly above the UK growth rate of 0.4% over the same period.

Ms Ewing said: "These figures show a growing economy and falling unemployment - both extremely encouraging indicators and signs that the economic picture in Scotland is continuing to improve.

"Indeed, Scotland was the only country of the UK where unemployment actually fell over the quarter.

"The 20,000 fall over the year in youth unemployment also means 20,000 more young people are now benefiting from the rewards and opportunities of work - something we are determined to improve on even further.

"Youth employment is one of our highest priorities and we will continue to work with employers and all other interested parties to ensure more of our young men and women get in to work and stay in work.''