Press release

October Labour Market Statistics for Scotland

Unemployment in Scotland increased by 18,000 and stands at 170,000 in the period June to August 2015.


The Scottish unemployment rate is 6.1 per cent, which is above the rate of 5.4% as for the whole of the UK, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today,

The labour market statistics also show employment in Scotland decreased by 6,000 over the three months June to August. The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,610,000.

The Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said:

“The figures released today show the challenges which remain to ensure households in every part of our country benefit from a growing economy. There can be no doubt there is still hard work to undertake to build on the UK Government’s long term economic plan which has tackled a record deficit and laid the foundations for a stronger and more stable economy.

“Across the UK there are now a near record number of vacancies. For individuals and families across Scotland we need to ensure they can see the UK and Scottish Governments working together and doing everything they can to help our businesses grow and ensure everyone who works hard have the opportunities they need to succeed.”

Headline Statistics for the June to August 2015 quarter

  • Employment in Scotland decreased by 6,000 over the quarter, and fell slightly by 1,000 over the year, to stand at 2,610,000.

  • The Scots employment rate decreased over the quarter at 73.7 per cent. The rate is just above the UK average of 73.6 per cent.

  • Unemployment in Scotland increased by 18,000 over the quarter and increased by 19,000 over the year. The level now stands at 170,000.

  • At 6.1 per cent, the Scots unemployment rate is above the UK’s rate of 5.4 per cent.

  • Economic Activity increased by 11,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,780,000. Also, the Economic Activity rate decreased slightly over the quarter to stand at 78.6 per cent.

  • In September 2015, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was 71,000.

Latest Data for Scotland


The Labour Force Survey (LFS) indicates that the number of people in employment in Scotland from June to August 2015 was 2,610,000. Employment was down by 6,000 compared to the previous three months, and was just down by 1,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The employment rate was down by 0.6 p.p. on the previous quarter, and it was down by 0.2 p.p. compared to the same quarter last year, at 73.7 per cent. In comparison, the Scottish employment rate is just above the UK average.


Unemployment in Scotland was up by 18,000 over the quarter June to August 2015 at 170,000. The level was up 19,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The unemployment rate was up 0.6 p.p. on the previous quarter at 6.1 per cent, which is up 0.7 p.p. over the year.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

The number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA), increased by 500 from August to 71,000 in September 2015. The level is down by 19,600 on September 2014. The claimant count rate (JSA and Universal Credit) is up by 0.1 p. p. over the month at 2.9 per cent, and is down 0.4 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 June to August 2015 quarter was 2,780,000. This was up 11,000 on the previous quarter, and up 18,000 on the same point a year ago. Among those aged 16-64 the economic activity rate was 78.6 per cent, down 0.1 p.p. on the previous quarter, and up 0.3 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 October publication will show the average for June to August. ONS recommend that seasonally adjusted data should be compared with the previous non-overlapping three-month period: i.e. June to August data should be compared with March to May 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 are 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 here

Search for “Regional Labour Market: HI11 - Headline Indicators for Scotland, October 2015”. Select the above title from the list given, and select “excel” under the download options to access the data.

Media contact: Paul Geoghan: 0131 244 9050/ 07881500663

Published 14 October 2015