Employment rate shows slight drop in Scotland

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The employment rate in Scotland fell slightly in the last quarter, according to latest figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the employment rate among those aged 16 to 64 was 73.7% between October and December last year, 0.3% down on the previous quarter.

The unemployment rate estimate in that age group also fell slightly over the quarter to 4.5%, a drop of 0.1% on the previous quarter.

This was in contrast to the UK unemployment rate which rose to 5.1%, up 0.4% on the previous three months.

There were 2.637 million people aged 16 and over in employment in Scotland, while 123,000 were unemployed, figures for October to December showed.

Business Minister Jamie Hepburn MSP said: “For October to December 2020, Scotland’s employment rate estimate fell over the quarter to 73.7% and the unemployment rate estimate also fell slightly over the quarter to 4.5%.

“Separate HMRC early estimates for January 2021, also published this morning, show there were 2,331,000 payrolled employees in Scotland, increasing by 8,000 compared with December 2020 – however, this is 68,000 lower than a year ago.

“These figures reflect some of the challenges faced in the labour market to date but do not reflect the full impact of coronavirus or the outlook for employment.

“The Job Retention Scheme continues to play an important role in supporting employers and employees and, combined with the huge economic uncertainty caused by Brexit, this remains an extremely uncertain time for the economy and jobs.

“We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to extend the Job Retention Scheme for as long as required – which will be beyond the current end date of April.

“The Scottish Government continues to support employers, allocating over £3 billion to help businesses since the start of this pandemic.”