News story

Statistically speaking

Scottish Secretary comments on latest labour market and GDP statistics.

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

Alistair Carmichael

Unemployment in Scotland increased by 3,000, to 179,000 in the period December 2013 to February 2014, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today. The Scottish unemployment rate is 6.5 per cent, which is below the average of 6.9 per cent for the whole of the UK.

The labour market statistics also show employment in Scotland has increased by 16,000 over the three months December 2013 to February 2014. The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,575,000.

Meanwhile the Scottish GDP show an increase of 0.2 per cent in Q4 – compared to 0.7 per cent for UK as a whole. Part of the reason given for this is the Grangemouth dispute.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said:

It is encouraging to see 16,000 more Scots move into work and the number claiming jobseekers allowance fall for the seventeenth straight month. There are now 68,000 more people in work and around 32,000 fewer people claiming jobseekers allowance than one year ago. It is also very encouraging to see the number of women in work continuing to rise to a near record high.‬

With business confidence increasing, inflation falling to a four and half year low and seven consecutive months of positive Scottish economic growth, Scotland is doing well as part of the UK.‬

Tax changes the UK Government has introduced this month will make it easier for Scottish businesses to invest, to take on new staff and be even more competitive on a global stage. We have also ensured that every hard working Scot will not pay any income tax on everything they earn up to £10,000. ‬

Any rise in unemployment shows that challenges remain. We must ensure that as the economy recovers the benefits are seen in communities across the length and breadth of Scotland.‬

Commenting on the GDP figures, Mr Carmichael said:

The Scottish GDP figures published today highlight the damaging impact of the industrial dispute at Grangemouth last October.

It is concerning to see the impact this one industrial dispute had on Scotland’s economic performance.

This danger was diminished, of course, by the fact that Scotland is an integral part of the UK economy and that we are currently contributing to the fastest growing economy in the G7. This is where we want to be.

The Grangemouth effect on Scotland’s economy is a real life reminder of why it is better to be part of a larger economy where we spread risks and share rewards with all other parts of the UK.

Headline Statistics from the April Labour Market Statistics for the December 2013 to February 2014 quarter:

  • Employment in Scotland increased by 16,000 over the quarter, and increased by 68,000 over the year, to stand at 2,575,000.

  • The Scots employment rate rose by 0.6 per cent over the quarter to 73.3 per cent. The rate is above the UK average of 72.6 per cent.

  • Unemployment in Scotland increased by 3,000 over the quarter and fell by 18,000 over the year. The level now stands at 179,000.

  • At 6.5 per cent, the Scots unemployment rate is below the UK rate as a whole at 6.9 per cent.

  • Economic Activity increased by 19,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,754,000. Also, the Economic Activity rate increased over the quarter to stand at 78.5 per cent.

  • In March 2014, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was 104,600.

Latest Data for Scotland


The Labour Force Survey (LFS) indicates that the number of people in employment in Scotland from December 2013 to February 2014 was 2,575,000. Employment was up by 16,000 compared to the previous three months, and was up by 68,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The employment rate was up by 0.6 p.p. on the previous quarter, and it was up by 1.7 p.p. compared to the same quarter last year, at 73.3 per cent. In comparison, the Scottish employment rate is above the UK average


Unemployment in Scotland was up 3,000 over the quarter December 2013 to February 2014, to 179,000. The level was down 18,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The unemployment rate was up slightly on the previous quarter at 6.5 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), fell by 2,400 from February to 104,600 in March 2014. The level is down by 32,100 on March 2013. The claimant count rate is down 0.1 p.p. over the month at 3.7 per cent, and is down 1.1 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 December 2013 to February 2014 quarter was 2,754,000. This was up 19,000 on the previous quarter, and is up 50,000 on the same point a year ago. Among those aged 16-64 the economic activity rate was 78.5 per cent, up 0.6 p.p. on the previous quarter, and up 1.1 p.p. over the year.

GDP figures

Scottish GDP grew by 0.2 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2013 and grew by 1.7 per cent on an annual basis, comparing the most recent quarter (2013 Q4) to the same quarter in the previous year (2012 Q4).

The latest figures show that UK GDP on a comparable basis (constant basic prices) grew by 0.7 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2013, following growth of 0.8 per cent in the previous quarter.

On an annual basis (2012 Q4 and 2013 Q4), UK GDP grew by 2.7 per cent.

Published 16 April 2014