Unemployment in Scotland has dropped to its lowest level of 3.2% after five consecutive months of record-low figures.
Latest statistics indicate that there were 89,000 Scots registered as unemployed in the first quarter of 2019, a drop of 24.5% compared to the start of 2018 and 13.8% lower than the period of October to December 2018.
However, the employment rate in Scotland for people between the ages of 16 and 64 showed a slight decrease in January to March, down 0.1% from the previous quarter – an estimated 3000 fewer people employed.
According to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) data, the percentage of economically inactive people in Scotland rose by 0.3% in the last three months, accounting for the drop in both employment and unemployment rates.
Business minister Jamie Hepburn said: “The Scottish economy and jobs market continues to strengthen.
“Scotland’s employment rate is 75.4% and the unemployment rate sits at 3.2%, a new record low and lower than the UK rate of 3.8%.
“Indeed this is the fifth month in a row Scotland has seen record low unemployment levels.
“Labour market figures for women and young people in Scotland once again outperform the UK. Scotland’s employment rate for women rose to 72.0%, higher than the UK rate of 71.8%.
“The employment rate for young people in Scotland rose to 59.3%, higher than the UK rate of 54.6%. Scotland’s unemployment rate for young people, 6.6%, is a record low and lower than the UK.”
Mr Hepburn also issued a warning about the damage Brexit could do to employment in Scotland and added: “While Scotland’s economy and job market continues to grow, the UK Government’s EU exit plans, in whatever form, will cost jobs, make people poorer and damage our society.
“The Scottish Government has consistently been clear that the best option for the future wellbeing and prosperity of Scotland, and the UK as a whole, is to stay in the European Union.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It is good news that unemployment in Scotland is at a record low, this really is to be celebrated.
“The UK Government is investing in Scotland’s economy and creating jobs.
“Our £1.35bn city and growth deals programme is starting to reap rewards and will give Scotland a long-lasting economic boost.
“In the past month alone we have seen the launch of the new fleet of Caledonian sleeper trains and Highland Council’s broadband project shortlisted for the 2019 Connected Britain Awards.
“Figures also showed Scotland’s booming digital tech sector employing a record 58,000 people.
“UK Government investment is having a real impact and I urge the Scottish Government to work with us and use their extensive economic development powers as effectively as possible.”