Press release

December Labour Market Statistics for Scotland

Unemployment in Scotland increased by 14,000 in the period August to October 2016, and now stands at 145,000, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today


The Scottish unemployment rate is 5.3 per cent, which is above the rate of 4.8 per cent for the whole of the UK.

The labour market statistics also show that employment in Scotland fell by 40,000 over the three months to October 2016. The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,592,000. Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell said:

These statistics underline the importance of tomorrow’s draft budget from the Scottish Government.

The UK government is building an economy that works for everyone across the UK. We are supporting jobs and growth by keeping business taxes low and investing in infrastructure. As a direct result of the UK government’s decisions last month, there will be City Deal for every city in Scotland, more than £820 million of extra funding for Scotland, and new support for digital infrastructure and research and development.

But the Scottish Government now hold the main levers to shape and strengthen the economy. They need to use them to boost the prosperity of people in Scotland.

Headline statistics for the August to October 2016 quarter:

  • Employment in Scotland fell by 40,000 over the quarter, and by 24,000 over the year, to stand at 2,592,000.

  • The Scots employment rate fell by 0.8 p.p. over the quarter to 73.3 per cent. The rate is below the UK average of 74.4 per cent.

  • Unemployment in Scotland rose by 14,000 over the quarter and is down 14,000 over the year. The level now stands at 145,000.

  • At 5.3 per cent, the Scottish unemployment rate is above the UK’s rate of 4.8 per cent.

  • Economic activity fell by 25,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,737,000. Also, the economic activity rate decreased over the year to stand at 77.5 per cent.

  • In November 2016, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance was 54,100 and claimant count, including Universal Credit was 83,400.

Latest Data for Scotland:


The Labour Force Survey indicates that the number of people in employment in Scotland from August to October 2016 was 2,592,000. Employment was down by 40,000 compared to the previous three months, and by 24,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The employment rate was down 0.8 percentage points on the previous quarter, and down by 1.0 percentage points compared the same quarter last year. By comparison, the Scottish employment rate is below the UK average of 74.4 per cent.


Unemployment in Scotland was up by 14,000 over the quarter August to October 2016 at 145,000. The level was down 14,000 on the same quarter last year. The unemployment rate was up 0.6 p.p. on the previous quarter at 5.3 per cent, which is down 0.4 p.p. over the year.

Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit

The number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) fell by 200 to 54,100 in November 2016. The level is down by 12,500 on November 2015. The claimant count level (JSA and Universal Credit) is down 200 over the month at 83,400 and the rate is unchanged over the month and up 0.2 p.p. the year to 3.0 per cent.

Economic Activity

The number of economically active (defined as those in employment or ILO unemployed, and seasonally adjusted) in Scotland in the August to October 2016 quarter was 2,737,000. This was down 25,000 on the previous quarter, and by 38,000 on prior year levels. Among those aged 16-64 the economic activity rate was 77.5 per cent, down 0.4 p.p. on the previous quarter, and down 1.4 p.p. over the year.

Published 14 December 2016