Scots unemployment rate overtakes UK national average

February labour market statistics for Scotland

Unemployment in Scotland increased by 6,000 in the period October to November 2016, and now stands at 135,000, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released last week.
The Scottish unemployment rate is 4.9%, which is above the rate of 4.8% for the whole of the UK.
The labour market statistics also show that employment in Scotland increased by 8,000 over the three months to December 2016. The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,611,000.
The Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, said: “There is cause for some cautious optimism about the state of Scotland’s labour market, with employment up and more women returning to the labour market.
“However, declining economic activity during the last 12 months, and the gap between the Scottish and UK labour markets, remains a concern.
“We have devolved a raft of new powers to the Scottish Parliament. It now needs to use those levers to strengthen the Scottish economy.”
Headline statistics for the October to December 2016 quarter:
  • Employment in Scotland increased by 8,000 over the quarter, and fell by 20,000 over the year, to stand at 2,611,000.
  • The Scots employment rate increased by 0.1 p.p. over the quarter to 73.6 per cent. The rate is below the UK average of 74.6 per cent.
  • Unemployment in Scotland rose by 6,000 over the quarter and is down 27,000 over the year.  The level now stands at 135,000.
  • At 4.9 per cent, the Scottish unemployment rate is above the UK’s rate of 4.8 per cent.
  • Economic activity increased by 13,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,746,000. Also, the economic activity rate decreased over the year to stand at 77.6 per cent.
  • In January 2017, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance was 50,100 and claimant count, including Universal Credit was 76,400.
Latest Data for Scotland:
The Labour Force Survey indicates that the number of people in employment in Scotland from October to December 2016 was 2,611,000.  Employment was up by 8,000 compared to the previous three months, and down by 20,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The employment rate was up 0.1 percentage points on the previous quarter, and down by 1.0 percentage points compared the same quarter last year.  By comparison, the Scottish employment rate is below the UK average of 74.6 per cent.
Unemployment in Scotland was up by 6,000 over the quarter October to December 2016 at 135,000.  The level was down 27,000 on the same quarter last year. The unemployment rate was up 0.2 p.p. on the previous quarter at 4.9 per cent, which is down 0.9 p.p. over the year.
Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit
The number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) fell by 2,100 to 50,100 in January 2017.  The level is down by 10,400 on January 2016.  The claimant count level (JSA and Universal Credit) is down 4,300 over the month at 76,400 and the rate is down 0.2 p.p. over the month and up 0.1 p.p. the year to 2.7 per cent.
Economic Activity
The number of economically active (defined as those in employment or ILO unemployed, and seasonally adjusted) in Scotland in the October to December 2016 quarter was 2,746,000.  This was up 13,000 on the previous quarter, and down by 47,000 on prior year levels.  Among those aged 16-64 the economic activity rate was 77.6 per cent, up 0.2 p.p. on the previous quarter, and down 1.7 p.p. over the year.
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Hannah Hamilton, who is a former Fife College student, is a reporter and assistant content editor for Scotland B2B, specialising in B2B news and features. She can be contacted via