Scotland business

Scottish unemployment falls by 16,000

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Unemployment in Scotland fell by 16,000 between November and January to stand at 129,000, according to official data.

At the same time the UK's jobless total fell by 31,000, reaching 1.58 million - its lowest level since 1975.

The Scottish jobless rate is now 4.7%, which matches the figure for the whole of the UK.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data also showed that employment north of the border increased by 16,000 to 2,608,000.

It now stands at 73.7% - below the UK average of 74.6%.

The claimant count fell by 1,300 in February to 75,000.

'Good news'

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "This is good news, with more people in work and unemployment down.

"We want to see this continue and for the Scottish economy to start to close the worrying gap we've seen open up with the rest of the UK."

The Scottish government said Scotland continued to outperform the rest of the UK on youth employment and unemployment.

Employability and Training Minister Jamie Hepburn said: "While we still have much to do, our work to develop opportunities for young people through apprenticeships and training and to close the gender pay gap is helping us set ourselves apart from the rest of the UK.

"In terms of youth unemployment rates, we are second only to Germany within the EU."

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Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron said: "The latest set of unemployment figures for Scotland is very encouraging and show that our unemployment rate has fallen back towards parity with the UK rate.

"However, despite a rise in employment levels, our employment rate remains below the overall UK rate and below the Scottish rate for the same period last year.

"With employment growing and unemployment falling, our governments north and south of the border urgently need to plan for how businesses' future skills needs will be met, both from our domestic pool of talent and from overseas talent."

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