Press release

February Labour Market Statistics for Scotland

Unemployment in Scotland fell by 13,000, to 206,000 in October to December 2012, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Unemployment in Scotland fell by 13,000, to 206,000 in the period October to December 2012, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today. The Scottish unemployment rate is 7.7 per cent, which is just below the average of 7.8 per cent for the whole of the UK. The labour market statistics also show employment in Scotland has fallen by 11,000 over the three months October to December 2012. The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,461,000.

The Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore said:

“In difficult economic circumstances, I welcome the news unemployment fell by 13,000 during the last quarter of 2012. It is also encouraging that 5,200 fewer people are claiming Job Seeker Allowance compared to one year ago. The government continues to work hard to reduce unemployment by laying the foundations for a stronger, more balanced economy. 

“Last month I co-chaired the first meeting of the Scottish Employability Forum at in Edinburgh.  The Forum brings together the UK Government, Scottish Government, COSLA, key stakeholders and delivery bodies with the remit of finding workable solutions to counter long term unemployment in Scotland. 

“As part of the first meeting the Forum has commissioned a paper to assess the most pressing priorities regarding unemployment levels in Scotland.  It is important that we make the most of the significant amount of knowledge and expertise that the forum has and I am confident that we can work together to tackle this important issue over the coming months.”

Headline Statistics for the October to December 2012 quarter:

  • Employment in Scotland fell by 11,000 over the quarter, and increased by 2,000 over the year, to stand at 2,461,000.
  • The Scots employment rate increased over the quarter to 70.7 per cent. The rate is below the UK average of 71.5 per cent.
  • Unemployment in Scotland fell by 13,000 over the quarter and fell by 25,000 over the year. The level now stands at 206,000.
  • At 7.7 per cent, the Scots unemployment rate is now just below the UK rate as a whole at 7.8 per cent.
  • Economic Activity fell by 23,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,667,000. The Economic Activity rate decreased over the quarter to stand at 76.7 per cent.
  • In January 2013, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was 137,000.

Latest Data for Scotland


The Labour Force Survey (LFS) indicates that the number of people in employment in Scotland from October to December 2012 was 2,461,000.  Employment was down by 11,000 compared to the previous three months, and was up by 2,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The employment rate was up on the previous quarter by 0.1 p.p., and it was down by 0.1 p.p. compared to the same quarter last year, at 70.7 per cent. In comparison, the Scottish employment rate is now below the UK average.


Unemployment in Scotland was down 13,000 over the quarter October to December 2012, to 206,000.  The level was down 25,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The unemployment rate was down by 0.4 p.p. on the previous quarter at 7.7 per cent, which is down 0.9 p.p. over the year.

Claimant Count

The claimant count in Scotland, based on the seasonally adjusted number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA), fell by 600 from December to 137,000 in January 2013.  The level is down by 5,200 on January 2012.  The claimant count rate is unchanged over the month at 5.0 per cent, and is down 0.2 p.p. over the year.

Economic Activity

The number of economically active (defined as those in employment or ILO unemployed, and seasonally adjusted) in Scotland in the October to December 2012 quarter was 2,667,000.  This was down 23,000 on the previous quarter, and is down 23,000 on the same point a year ago.  Among those aged 16-64 the economic activity rate was 76.7 per cent, down 0.3 p.p. on the previous quarter, and down 0.8 p.p. over the year.

Published 20 February 2013