News story

May Labour Market Statistics for Scotland

Unemployment in Scotland fell by 7,000, to 199,000 in January to March 2013, 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 7,000, to 199,000 in the period January to March 2013, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today. The Scottish unemployment rate is 7.3 per cent, which is below the average of 7.8 per cent for the whole of the UK.

The labour market statistics also show employment in Scotland has increased by 54,000 over the three months January to March 2013. The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,517,000.

The Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore said:

“The latest labour market figures are another welcome step in the right direction and it is good news that Scotland is doing well as part of UK. This shows that the measures we are taking on the economy are working.

“However, there is still a long way to go and unemployment remains a huge concern for families and individuals in Scotland. It is therefore important that we maintain our economic strategy, working together with all partners to ensure that unemployment continues to fall. I am confident that the measures introduced to Parliament as part of the Queen’s Speech earlier this month such as supporting families with childcare costs, and taking 35,000 businesses in Scotland out of National Insurance contributions altogether, will continue to aid the economic recovery in Scotland.”

Headline Statistics for the January to March 2013 quarter:

  • Employment in Scotland increased by 54,000 over the quarter, and increased by 30,000 over the year, to stand at 2,517,000.

  • The Scots employment rate increased over the quarter to 71.8 per cent. The rate is above the UK average of 71.4 per cent.

  • Unemployment in Scotland fell by 7,000 over the quarter and fell by 21,000 over the year. The level now stands at 199,000.

  • At 7.3 per cent, the Scots unemployment rate is now below the UK rate as a whole at 7.8 per cent.

  • Economic Activity increased by 47,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,716,000. The Economic Activity rate increased over the quarter to stand at 77.6 per cent.

  • In April 2013, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was 136,800.

Latest Data for Scotland


The Labour Force Survey (LFS) indicates that the number of people in employment in Scotland from January to March 2013 was 2,517,000. Employment was up by 54,000 compared to the previous three months, and was up by 30,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The employment rate was up on the previous quarter by 1.1 p.p., and it was up by 0.4 p.p. compared to the same quarter last year, at 71.8 per cent. In comparison, the Scottish employment rate is above the UK average.


Unemployment in Scotland was down 7,000 over the quarter January to March 2013, to 199,000. The level was down 21,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The unemployment rate was down by 0.4 p.p. on the previous quarter at 7.3 per cent, which is down 0.8 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), increased by 100 from March to 136,800 in April 2013. The level is down by 5,200 on April 2012. The claimant count rate is unchanged over the month at 4.9 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 January to March 2013 quarter was 2,716,000. This was up 47,000 on the previous quarter, and is up 10,000 on the same point a year ago. Among those aged 16-64 the economic activity rate was 77.6 per cent, up 0.9 p.p. on the previous quarter, and down 0.2 p.p. over the year.


  1. The internationally comparable International Labour Organisation (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 Labour Force Survey (LFS), is published 12 times a year for an average of three consecutive months, so the May publication will show the average for January to March. ONS recommend that seasonally adjusted data should be compared with the previous non-overlapping three-month period: i.e. January to March data should be compared with October to December 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 four weeks and are available to start work in the next two weeks or; out of work, have a found a job and are waiting to start in the next two 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 May 2013”. Select the above title from the list given, and select “excel” under the download options to access the data.

Media contact: Clark Dunn: 0131 244 9053/ 07917084371

Published 15 May 2013