Jobless total in Scotland drops below 100,000 for first time

Unemployment in Scotland has fallen below 100,000 for the first time, new figures have revealed.

Data for the period September to November 2018 showed the number of Scots aged 16 and above without a job had fallen 6.4% from the previous quarter to stand at 99,000.

That total is 11.6% lower than it was in the same period of 2017, the Office for National Statistics said.

Scotland’s overall unemployment rate fell again to 3.6% – below the UK rate of 4% – which is the lowest it has been since 1975.

At the same time, 2,561,000 people aged between 16 and 64 were in work – a rise of 10,000 on the figures for June to August 2018.

This put the employment rate for this age group up to 75.3%

Across the UK as a whole the number of people in work increased by 141,00 over September to November to stand at 32.5 million – the highest since records began in 1971.

Business minister Jamie Hepburn welcomed the “record low” in unemployment but also warned of the “threat” the UK’s decision to leave the European Union could have on the economy.

A no-deal Brexit could cost Scotland £14 billion a year, new analysis by business organisation the CBI has indicated.

Mr Hepburn said: “Despite the huge and continued challenges of Brexit, the Scottish economy remains resilient and our jobs market is strengthening.

“Scotland’s unemployment rate reached a record low again this month, down to 3.6%, lower than the UK rate of 4.0%.

“The number of people unemployed in Scotland has now fallen below 100,000 for the first time on record.

“Employment for women and young people in particular continues to be impressive in Scotland as we outperform the UK with a rate of 71.5% for women, higher than the UK rate of 71.2%, and 60.7% for young people, higher than the UK rate of 56.0%.

“Compared to the UK we have significantly lower rates of unemployment for both women and young people.”

He added: “We remain committed to creating the right economic environment for jobs growth however Brexit remains the biggest threat to Scotland’s economic success.

“The UK Government must now take urgent steps to rule out a no-deal Brexit, which threatens to have devastating consequences for jobs, businesses and communities, extend the Article 50 process and hold a second referendum on EU membership.”