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Scotland outperforms UK in employment

Scotland outperforms UK in employment
John Swinney comments as employment rises and unemployment falls in Scotland

The latest labour market statistics covering the three month period January-March 2012 show that employment in Scotland is rising and unemployment is falling – and both at a faster rate than across the UK as a whole.

Scotland has a higher rate of employment and a lower rate of economic inactivity than the rest of the UK.

Scotland’s headline unemployment level for people aged 16 and over fell by 10,000, with the rate falling by 0.4 percentage points over the three month period January-March 2012 to 8.2 per cent. The UK unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 8.2 percent.

Scotland’s headline employment rate remains higher than the UK as a whole for the eighteenth consecutive month of labour market statistics.

Over the three month period January-March 2012, the level of total employment in Scotland among those aged 16 and over increased by 24,000, and the headline employment rate, which refers to the population aged 16 to 64, rose by 0.5 percentage points to 71.2 per cent. The UK employment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 70.5 per cent over the same period.

The 24,000 rise in employment is the largest rise in Scotland since last spring, April-June 2011.

The economic inactivity rate for the population aged 16-64 in Scotland (those who are neither in employment or ILO unemployed) fell by 0.2 percentage points to 22.3 per cent.

In the UK, the inactivity rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 23.0 per cent.

The unemployment level for 16-24 year olds in Scotland was 94,000 for January-March 2012, and the rate was 23.1 per cent. However, it is important to note that in October-December 2011, 35 per cent of 16-24 year olds who were unemployed in Scotland were also in full time education, compared to the UK-wide figure of 30 per cent.

The employment rate for 16-24 year olds in Scotland was 51.9 per cent, 3.3 percentage points higher than the comparable UK figure of 48.6 per cent.

At 66.5 per cent, the rate of female employment in Scotland remains the highest of all UK countries and higher than the UK as a whole (65.5 per cent).

Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

“These figures show again that Scotland has a higher employment rate – for the eighteenth consecutive month of labour market statistics – and a lower rate of economic inactivity than the UK as a whole.

“The figures show that the actions of the Scottish Government and our agencies are delivering in tough times – just yesterday Aker Solutions announced plans to add another 500 jobs to its current 2,700 strong operation in the North East, on top of recent positive announcements including Gamesa’s decision to bring their wind power manufacturing facility and 800 jobs to Leith, and GlaxoSmithKline’s £100 million expansion plans for sites in Montrose and Irvine.

“In January-March, unemployment in Scotland fell and employment increased at a faster rate than across the UK as a whole. This is the biggest rise in employment in Scotland since last spring, but unemployment remains far too high – there is absolutely no room for complacency, and more must be done. The ongoing uncertainty in the Eurozone underlines that what is needed now to promote growth and create jobs is an injection of increased capital spending by the UK Government. Earlier this month, the First Minister wrote again to the Prime Minister calling on him to support the list of £300 million ‘shovel-ready’ projects across Scotland to boost growth and support thousands of jobs.

“Today’s figures show that there are positive indications in the Scottish economy. Unemployment in Scotland remains lowers than in most other nations and regions of the UK, but further action must be taken. More capital spending is essential if we are to keep pushing jobs and recovery forward, and it is therefore imperative that the UK Government changes course and boosts infrastructure investment.

“We continue to face particular challenges in terms of youth and female unemployment, and we are taking forward specific initiatives to address these. Last month, for example, the First Minister announced at the STUC Annual Congress that the Scottish Government would hold a Women’s Employment Summit to consider what steps can be taken to increase female employment across Scotland.

“With the full economic and financial powers of independence we could do even more – but in the meantime the UK Government must help, rather than hinder, the process of economic recovery.”

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance added:

“We are determined to improve the employability and life chances of our young people, and have guaranteed every 16-19-year-old a place in education or training through Opportunities for All.

“In addition to the £30 million announced to back up our commitment, we are investing almost the same amount again through European Structural Funds to fund a range of employability initiatives around the country.”

Paul ChampionStrategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

Sent from my iPad

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