Scottish unemployment rate increases slightly

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There are 24,000 more people working than a year ago. Credit: PA

Scotland's unemployment rate has risen slightly in the last quarter, according to latest figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data published on Tuesday showed that the unemployment rate for those aged 16 and over in March to May this year was at 3.2%, up 0.2% on the previous quarter.

The estimated employment rate for those aged 16 to 64 has dropped by 0.5% over the last quarter to 75.1%.

Meanwhile, HMRC early estimates show 2.44 million payrolled employees in Scotland in June 2023, 24,000 more than a year ago.

Neil Gray, cabinet secretary for wellbeing economy, fair work and energy, welcomed the low unemployment rates.

He said: "The continued near-record low unemployment rates for those aged 16 and over across Scotland are welcome and reflects the resilience of the labour market amid the challenging economic outlook and ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

"This is compounded by continuing high inflation and rising interest rates.

"However, the Scottish Government is committed to supporting more people into work - including the disabled and those with health conditions and caring responsibilities - through employability and skills support as well as improved access to flexible working.

"We are progressing recommendations from the New Deal for Business Group on labour market participation, with a focus on supporting parents into employment through school age childcare and nurturing the skills which businesses need for a transition to net zero.

"We want to deliver a wellbeing economy with sustainability and fairness at its heart which allows businesses and their employees to thrive.

"We are rapidly fulfilling commitments made in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, including developing a lifetime skills offer for adults, which will ensure future support is targeted at those who need it most."

Mr Gray said the Scottish Government's apprenticeship programme is helping employers grow their workforce and provide "greater opportunities to those at the start of their careers.

He added: "With industries such as hospitality and agriculture still facing recruitment challenges, however, an urgent reassessment of UK Government immigration policy is necessary to increase access to the international labour and skills that Scotland needs for our economy and communities to prosper.

"With full powers over migration, Scotland could boost its workforce and tackle recruitment challenges, many of which have been caused by the end of free movement and the Brexit imposed on Scotland by the UK Government."

Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland, said: "Scotland continues to have near-record unemployment - even in the face of global challenges, our jobs market is proving resilient.

"The UK Government remains committed to halving inflation, reducing debt and growing the economy. Just last month, we increased the amount of childcare support a person can claim on Universal Credit, allowing thousands more to return to work or progress their careers."

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