Unemployment Falls Again

The number of Scots in work increased 16,000 last quarter, with 2,578,000 people now in employment.

The official data shows 100,500 people claimed Jobseeker's Allowance over the three months - the lowest level since December 2008. The rate now stands at 3.7%.

The Scottish Government welcomed the figure of 1,244,000 women now in employment - an increase of 35,000 since last year and the highest level since records began in 1992.

The female job rate is 69.8%, compared to the UK figure of 67.9%.

Angela Constance, the Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women's Employment, said the figures underline Scotland's "strong and continued economic growth''.

She said: "Scotland continues to outperform the UK across employment and inactivity rates, with an unemployment rate equal to that in the UK.

"Female employment, in particular, has increased markedly to reach its highest levels since comparable records began in 1992.

"Clearly, we still face challenges with 69,000 young people in Scotland recorded as unemployed.

"We will redouble our efforts to enable Scotland's young people to share the benefits of the growing jobs market.''

Ms Constance added: "Overall this excellent set of job figures underlines the continuing recovery in the Scottish labour market, however we also know that with full economic powers of independence there is much more we could do to further strengthen our economy and give business access to the human skills they need to grow and to create even more jobs.''

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael also welcomed the figures.

He said: "Working together as part of the UK creates better opportunities, more secure jobs and record high levels of employment in Scotland. I am delighted today's figures show there are a record number of women in employment in Scotland.

"More and more Scots are moving into employment or becoming entrepreneurs and the employers of tomorrow. Over the past year employment has increased by 48,000, unemployment has fallen by 10,000 and the number of Scots claiming Jobseeker's Allowance has fallen for the 19th straight month and is 33,600 lower than 12 months ago.

"There is much work to be done, particularly in ensuring every community across the country sees the benefits of the ongoing economic recovery. We will continue with our long term economic plan generating the conditions for business confidence to grow further, helping them to create more high quality sustainable jobs.''

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said the fall in unemployment suggests increased confidence in a strengthening economy.

She said: "All of this is good news but as the appetite of business for skilled workers grows, we must also ensure that the supply of skills matches emerging demand.

"That is why we believe that last week's report by the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce, chaired by Sir Ian Wood, requires urgent action from government, the education system and business.

"Getting the balance right between vocational and academic training, effective and accurate careers guidance and early involvement by businesses in schools are essential if we are to tackle skills shortages and create more job opportunities.''

Figures released today by Scotland's Chief Statistician showed employment in the private sector has increased by 5% over the year, with 2,020,800 people now working in the private sector.

It compares to a 6.2% fall in employment in the public sector to 545,200, the lowest level since 1999.

Private sector employment now accounts for 78.8% of total employment in Scotland and public sector jobs 21.2%.