Scottish unemployment rate falls

image captionThe number of unemployed in Scotland falls as the claimant count rises

Scottish unemployment fell by 11,000 in the three months to May to 205,000, according to the latest data.

The unemployment rate was 7.6%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), below the UK average of 7.7%.

However, the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in June was 141,300 - an increase of 1,500.

In the UK unemployment fell by 26,000 in the three months to May to 2.45 million.

According to the ONS, employment in Scotland increased by 20,000 over the quarter, and increased by 55,000 over the year to stand at nearly 2.5 million.

The Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore, said: "Since last autumn the Scottish jobless figures have been heading in the right direction and this is encouraging.

"The UK government is continuing to work hard to set the right conditions to put the country on a path to long term sustainable growth.

'We have identified trade as one of the areas that will help us to rebalance the economy."

He added: "For this reason we have created a new Scottish trade group which will support our aim to increase exports from Scotland."

The fall in the unemployment rate in Scotland below the UK as whole has been welcomed by the Scottish government.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "These are positive figures, with employment in Scotland rising and unemployment falling at seven times the rate as in the rest of the UK, but there can be absolutely no room for complacency.

"We now have lower unemployment, higher employment, and a lower rate of economic inactivity in Scotland than the UK as a whole - and the lowest joblessness rate in Scotland for 18 months, with the eighth consecutive reported fall."

Mr Salmond added: "However, as the increase in the claimant count demonstrates, more needs to be done to support jobs, secure investment and boost economic activity across Scotland - and these figures reinforce the need for a Plan B or flexibility from the UK government in order to strengthen growth and recovery."

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