News story

Unemployment falls in Scotland

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

February Labour Market Statistics for Scotland published.

Unemployment in Scotland fell by 3,000, to 195,000 in the period October to December 2013, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today. The Scottish unemployment rate is 7.1 per cent, which is below the average of 7.2 per cent for the whole of the UK.

The labour market statistics also show employment in Scotland has increased by 9,000 over the three months October to December 2013. The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,556,000.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said:

Employment increasing, unemployment decreasing and a fall in the number of Scots claiming jobseekers allowance for the fifteenth straight month is good news. There are now 92,000 more people in employment compared to the end of 2012 and 27,000 less people in Scotland claiming JSA than one year ago.

Challenges remain and the UK Government will continue to work hard to find solutions to counter long term unemployment in Scotland. In two weeks I will co-chair the latest meeting of the Scottish Employability Forum which brings together the UK Government, Scottish Government, COSLA, key stakeholders and delivery bodies making the most of the significant amount of knowledge and expertise that Scotland has.

With business confidence continuing to grow, more jobs are being created, and inflation is now below the 2% government target. Together with the Bank of England is revising up its forecast for GDP growth in 2014 it is clear that being part of a large UK single market and an influential EU member benefits Scotland. Our economy is growing because we are part of the UK.

Meanwhile the First Minister is the man without a plan on the vital issue of currency. Jobs and growth are closely linked to currency. If the First Minister cannot even tell us what currency we would have then people cannot take him seriously.

Headline Statistics for the October to December 2013 quarter:

  • Employment in Scotland increased by 9,000 over the quarter, and increased by 92,000 over the year, to stand at 2,556,000.
  • The Scots employment rate remained unchanged over the quarter at 72.8 per cent. The rate is above the UK average of 72.1 per cent.
  • Unemployment in Scotland fell by 3,000 over the quarter and fell by 10,000 over the year. The level now stands at 195,000.
  • At 7.1 per cent, the Scots unemployment rate is below the UK rate as a whole at 7.2 per cent.
  • Economic Activity increased by 6,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,751,000. However, the Economic Activity rate fell slightly over the quarter to stand at 78.5 per cent.
  • In January 2014, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was 110,400.

Latest Data for Scotland


The Labour Force Survey (LFS) indicates that the number of people in employment in Scotland from October to December 2013 was 2,556,000. Employment was up by 9,000 compared to the previous three months, and was up by 92,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The employment rate was unchanged on the previous quarter, and it was up by 2.0 p.p. compared to the same quarter last year, at 72.8 per cent. In comparison, the Scottish employment rate is above the UK average.


Unemployment in Scotland was down 3,000 over the quarter October to November 2013, to 195,000. The level was down 10,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The unemployment rate was down on the previous quarter at 7.1 per cent, which is down 0.6 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 2,900 from December to 110,400 in January 2014. The level is down by 27,000 on January 2013. The claimant count rate is down 0.1 p.p. over the month at 3.9 per cent, and is down 1.0 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 2013 quarter was 2,751,000. This was up 6,000 on the previous quarter, and is up 82,000 on the same point a year ago. Among those aged 16-64 the economic activity rate was 78.5 per cent, down 0.1 p.p. on the previous quarter, and up 1.7 p.p. over the year.