Coronavirus: Scottish employment up to 75% before lockdown

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The number of Scots in work in the three months before the coronavirus lockdown rose by 34,000 to 2,714,000 - more than 75% of the workforce.

In the same period between December and February, unemployment dropped by 500 to 105,000.

At 3.7%, Scotland's unemployment rate was lower than that in the UK as a whole, which remained at 4%.

The UK unemployment rate was higher than that in Scotland, with a slightly higher proportion of Scots classed as "economically inactive".

This was mainly due to roles looking after family, full-time education or long-term sick leave.

However, the latest figures issued by the Office for National Statistics do not co ver the current state of the jobs market.

They do not cover the period since the health crisis took hold, and millions of people were either put out of work or furloughed by their employees.

During the winter months covered by the Labour Market Survey, there were wider signs of the economy picking up.

That followed the December election and an end to the political paralysis around Brexit.

David Freeman, ONS head of labour market statistics, said: "Our final data wholly from before the coronavirus restrictions were in place, showed the labour market was very robust in the three months to February.

"For the first time, we have brought forward information on the number of employees in work using PAYE data to cover a more recent period.

"These experimental statistics show a softening picture in March, but cover the month as a whole, including the period before the coronavirus restrictions were in place."

Next month's figures are expected to reflect the rapid downturn in the economy since the lockdown began.

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