Scotland’s unemployment rate fell slightly in the last quarter, according to the latest figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the unemployment rate between January and March this year for those aged 16 and over was 4.3%, a 0.2% drop on the previous quarter.
This was lower than the UK-wide unemployment rate of 4.8% for those aged 16 and over.
The employment rate for those aged 16-64 in Scotland was 74.4%, a 0.7% increase on the previous quarter.
There were 2.560 million people aged 16-64 in employment between January and March, while 116,000 people in that age range were unemployed.
Across the whole UK, the number of workers on payrolls surged for the fifth month in a row in April as the lifting of lockdown restrictions saw the reopening of shops and outdoor dining, official figures have shown.
The ONS said the number of payroll workers rose by 97,000 between March and April, while it added that job vacancies also continued to increase as the economy jumped back into life.
The fall in the overall rate of unemployment – to 4.8% in the period from January to March – represents the largest quarterly decrease since September to November 2015.
But the data also showed the toll taken by the crisis on the jobs market, with 772,000 fewer UK workers on payrolls than before the pandemic struck last spring.
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: “The number of employees on payroll rose strongly in April as the economy began to reopen, continuing the improvement from its November trough.
“There remains, however, three quarters of a million people fewer on the payroll compared with the pre-pandemic peak.
“With many businesses reopening, the recent recovery in job vacancies continued into April, especially in sectors such as hospitality and entertainment.
“The renewed lockdown at the beginning of 2021 saw a sharp rise in the number of previously unemployed people no longer looking for work, helping the unemployment rate to fall on the quarter.
“This mirrored what happened during the first lockdown.”
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