Scotland business

Scotland's unemployment falls by 11,000

Woman entering a job centre Image copyright Getty Images

Unemployment in Scotland fell by 11,000 between February and April and now stands at 160,000, according to official figures.

The jobless rate is now 5.8%, compared with 5% for the whole of the UK.

But employment in Scotland fell by 48,000 over the three months to a total of 2,580,000.

The employment rate is now 73.2% - below the UK average of 74.2%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) .

The number of people claiming Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) fell by 500 between April and May to 57,100. The figure is 19,200 lower than a year ago.

Meanwhile, UK unemployment fell by 20,000 to 1.67 million between February and April. The UK jobless rate is at its lowest since 2005.

Analysis by Douglas Fraser, Scotland business/economy editor

Image copyright Thinkstock

The unemployment numbers are down, and account for half of the total UK fall. So that's good, isn't it?

Well, up to a point. The other side of that coin is employment - the number of people IN work in the February to April labour market survey.

And that's been heading in the wrong direction, at a much faster speed than the latest drop in job-seeker numbers.

Read more from Douglas

The UK government's Scottish Secretary David Mundell, said: "It is welcome news that unemployment has fallen by 11,000 over the three months to April, but these figures also show that the downturn in the oil and gas sector is having a significant, ongoing, impact.

"The UK government is continuing to work with the Scottish government and other partners to do everything possible to support the North Sea industry and boost Scotland's economy."

The Scottish government said Scotland outperformed the rest of the UK on youth employment, unemployment and inactivity rates.

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: "The latest employment figures show a fall in unemployment over the last quarter which is to be welcomed.

"However, as the employment rate has fallen we are clear we need to increase our efforts to improve the economy by investing in jobs and creating a competitive and supportive business environment."

'Wretched year'

Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary Grahame Smith said: "It can no longer be denied that 2016 is turning into a wretched year for the Scottish labour market.

"The small fall in unemployment must not be used to disguise the very significant fall in employment and concomitant rise in economic inactivity.

"Only Scotland among the nations and regions of the UK has seen its employment rate fall over the past year and its unemployment rate flat-line."

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