Scotland’s employment rate fell to 73.3% in final quarter of 2020

Scotland's employment rate fell to 73.3% in final quarter of 2020

Jamie Hepburn

Scotland’s employment rate estimate fell over the final quarter of last year to 73.7%, according to the latest official labour market statistics from the Labour Force Survey, published by the Office For National Statistics (ONS) today.

From October to December 2020, the unemployment rate estimate also fell slightly 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.

Jamie Hepburn, minister for business, fair work and skills, said the figures reflect some of the challenges faced in the labour market to date but do not reflect the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic or the outlook for employment.

He said: “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.

“Our Young Person’s Guarantee has so far created around 18,000 opportunities for people aged between 16 and 24 to help them into work, education or training. Meanwhile, the National Transition Training Fund is helping up to 10,000 people across Scotland who are unemployed or at risk of redundancy due to COVID-19 retrain and develop the skills they need to secure their future employment. We will continue to expand these programmes to ensure more opportunities are available to people.”

Mr Hepburn added: “We are taking every step within our power to create a stronger, more resilient, sustainable economy for Scotland. Later today the First Minister will set out the Scottish Government’s revised strategic framework and outline in detail how we gradually emerge from current lockdown restrictions.”

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