Scotland’s employment rate has fallen slightly, as businesses continue to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that from November 2020 to January 2021, employment rates dropped to 74.3% – down 0.6% compared with the previous quarter (August to October 2020).
This has brought Scotland’s employment below the UK rate of 75%.
The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimated that from November 2020 to January 2021, Scotland’s unemployment rate decreased slightly over the quarter by 0.1%, to 4.1%.
Scotland’s unemployment rate was below the UK rate of 5.0%.
Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills Jamie Hepburn said: “For November to January 2021, Scotland’s employment rate estimate fell over the quarter to 74.3% and the unemployment rate estimate fell slightly over the quarter to 4.1%.
“Separate HMRC early estimates for February 2021, also published this morning, show there were 2,331,000 payrolled employees in Scotland, 65,000 lower than a year ago.
“These figures reflect some of the challenges faced in Scotland’s labour market to date but they do not reflect the full impact of coronavirus or the outlook for employment as the Job Retention Scheme continues to help support jobs.
“It is crucial the UK Government keep this scheme in place for as long as it is needed.
“The Scottish Government continues to directly support employers across Scotland to protect as many jobs and livelihoods as possible, allocating over £3bn to help businesses since the start of this pandemic.
“More than half a billion pounds in lifeline support has been paid to Scottish businesses affected by the pandemic since November 2020 alone.
“We recognise young people have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and our Young Person’s Guarantee has so far created around 18,000 additional opportunities for people aged between 16 and 24 to help them into work, education or training.
“Meanwhile, the National Transition Training Fund is helping up to 10,000 people across Scotland who are unemployed or at risk of redundancy due to Covid-19, retrain and develop the skills they need to secure their future employment.
“We will continue to expand these programmes to ensure more opportunities are available to the people who need them.
“The continued progress of the vaccination programme is allowing us to set out more detail on reopening the economy, and our timetable for lifting restrictions, published last week, will give businesses the clarity they need to prepare.
“We will continue to take every step within our power to create a stronger, more resilient, sustainable economy for Scotland.”