Scotland’s unemployment remains near same rate as previous quarter, figures show

Employment Minister Richard Lochhead said ‘early estimates’ show there were 2.4 million payrolled employees in the country in January 2022.

Katharine Hay
Tuesday 15 February 2022 11:44
Unemployment in Scotland has stayed the same since the last quarter, according to the latest ONS figures (Philip Toscano/PA)
Unemployment in Scotland has stayed the same since the last quarter, according to the latest ONS figures (Philip Toscano/PA)

Unemployment in Scotland has stayed the same since the last quarter, according to new figures.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the unemployment rate for those aged 16 and over was 4.1% between October and December last year, which is the same figure as the previous quarter.

There was a slight decrease in the employment rate for those aged 16 to 64, which was 74.1% in the latest data, down 0.5% on the period of August to October.

This was lower than the UK employment figure for the same age group, which remained at 75.5%, while the unemployment rate for over-16s was the same level – 4.1% (up from 4.2% on the previous quarter).

Employment Minister, Richard Lochhead, said “early estimates” from HM Revenue and Customs show there were 2.4 million payrolled employees in Scotland in January 2022, some 14,000 more than in February 2020, prior to the pandemic.

Commenting on the latest publication of ONS labour market statistics, he said: “Despite a period of further economic uncertainty due to the spread of Omicron, the Scottish Government is firmly focused on doing all we can to seize our economic potential and build an economy of secure, sustainable and satisfying jobs.

“That is why the 2022-2023 Scottish Budget will invest an additional £68.3 million in employability and training to help businesses address skills shortages and help build a fairer, more prosperous economy for everyone.”

ONS head of economic statistics Sam Beckett said overall across the UK, the number of employees on payrolls rose again in January and is now well above pre-pandemic levels.

He said the number of people in employment overall is below where it was before Covid-19 hit due to there being far fewer self-employed people.

“The survey also shows that unemployment has fallen again and is now only fractionally above where it was before the pandemic,” Mr Beckett said.

“However, over the same period, nearly 400,000 people, mostly the over-50s, have disengaged from the world of work altogether and are neither working nor looking for a job.”

Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, said: “The UK Government’s Plan for Jobs is working, with the number of Scots on the payroll remaining higher than before the pandemic, and unemployment rates stable. That is good news.

“While we must keep a close eye on the jobs market, our economy is proving resilient, thanks to the unprecedented package of measures we put in place at the start of the pandemic.

“We will continue to support people in Scotland to get jobs and to progress in work. This is a key part of our Levelling Up agenda, which will create opportunities and improve the lives of people in all parts of the UK.”

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