Press release

January labour market statistics for Scotland

Unemployment in Scotland fell by 14,000, to 207,000 in the period September to November 2012, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today. The Scottish unemployment rate is 7.8%, which is just above the average of 7.7% for the whole of the UK.

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

Road construction in Scotland
CC image courtesy of Bilfinger

The labour market statistics also show employment in Scotland has fallen by 24,000 over the 3 months September to November 2012. The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,466,000.

The Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore said:

“It is encouraging to see unemployment falling by 14,000 in Scotland over the last 3 months and 4,400 people fewer people claiming Job Seekers Allowance compared to last year.

“There is no room for complacency as we get to grips with the wider challenges. The UK government will continue working hard to get more people back into work and keep its focus on maintaining a stable and growing economy.

“The growth measures we took in the Autumn Statement benefit Scotland by enabling it to invest in science, roads and education and allow it to compete in the global race as part of the UK.

“Unemployment is an issue which needs a joint approach from Scotland’s 2 governments. Next week, I will co-host the first Scottish Employability Forum which will bring the UK and Scottish governments together with local authorities, delivery bodies and employers to find workable solutions for Scotland’s unemployed people.

DWP will be a key partner and has already supported employability programmes worth £52 million in Scotland this year.”

Headline statistics for the September to November 2012 quarter:

  • Employment in Scotland fell by 24,000 over the quarter, and increased by 1,000 over the year, to stand at 2,466,000.
  • The Scots employment rate decreased over the quarter to 70.6%. The rate is below the UK average of 71.4%.
  • Unemployment in Scotland fell by 14,000 over the quarter and fell by 23,000 over the year. The level now stands at 207,000.
  • At 7.8%, the Scots unemployment rate is now just above the UK rate as a whole at 7.7%.
  • Economic Activity fell by 38,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,674,000. The Economic Activity rate decreased over the quarter to stand at 76.7%.
  • In December 2012, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was 137,500.

Latest data for Scotland


The Labour Force Survey (LFS) indicates that the number of people in employment in Scotland from September to November 2012 was 2,466,000. Employment was down by 24,000 compared to the previous 3 months, and was up by 1,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The employment rate was down on the previous quarter by 0.6 pp, and it was down by 0.3 pp compared to the same quarter last year, at 70.6%. In comparison, the Scottish employment rate is now below the UK average.


Unemployment in Scotland was down 14,000 over the quarter September to November 2012, to 207,000. The level was down 23,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The unemployment rate was down by 0.4 pp on the previous quarter at 7.8%, which is down 0.8 pp over the year.

Claimant count

The claimant count in Scotland, based on the seasonally adjusted number of people claiming JSA, fell by 1,400 from November to 137,500 in December 2012. The level is down by 4,400 on December 2011. The claimant count rate is down 0.1 pp over the month at 5.0%, and is down 0.2 pp over the year.

Economic activity

The number of economically active (defined as those in employment or International Labour Organisation (ILO) unemployed, and seasonally adjusted) in Scotland in the September to November 2012 quarter was 2,674,000. This was down 38,000 on the previous quarter, and is down 22,000 on the same point a year ago. Among those aged 16 to 64 the economic activity rate was 76.7%, down 1.0 pp on the previous quarter, and down 1.0 pp over the year.

Note for news editors

  1. The internationally comparable International ILO measure of unemployment is the headline figure published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for UK regions/countries.
  2. The ILO measure of unemployment, which is derived from the LFS, is published 12 times a year for an average of 3 consecutive months, so the January publication will show the average for September to November. ONS recommend that seasonally adjusted data should be compared with the previous non-overlapping 3-month period: ie September to November data should be compared with June to August data. Quarter to quarter changes at country/regional level are especially subject to sampling variability and should be interpreted in the context of changes over several quarters.
  3. The count of those claiming unemployment-related benefits continues to provide a full and timely range of data at sub-Scotland level for local authorities, Travel to Work Areas (TTWAs) and parliamentary constituencies. The claimant count is also the main source of information on unemployment by age and duration. Data on the claimant count in the New Deal age and duration groups is available from 1985.
  4. The ILO measure of unemployment defines unemployed people as those who are; without a job, want a job, have actively sought work in the last 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next 2 weeks or; out of work, have a found a job and are waiting to start in the next 2 weeks. The claimant count measures the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance benefits. The claimant count measure is always the lower measure because some unemployed people are not entitled to claim benefits, or choose not to do so.
  5. Economic activity is a measure of those who are in employment plus those who are unemployed but are available to enter the labour market (ILO unemployed). Conversely, the economically inactive are those people who are not in employment, but do not fulfill all the ILO criteria to be classified as unemployed. The most common reasons given for inactivity are being a student, being retired, looking after a family or home and being long-term sick or disabled.

To access the data from the ONS site, click on the following link:

Search for ‘Labour Market Regional Tables 1 to 11 Scotland January 2013’. Select the above title from the list given, and select ‘excel’ under the download options to access the data.

Published 23 January 2013