Unemployment in Scotland remains low amid spending squeeze

Unemployment in Scotland remained at a low level of 3.5% in the last quarter, according to official figures.

That is below the unemployment rate for the UK as a whole, while the number of people in jobs increased by 0.6% to 75.4% of those aged 16 to 64.

Across Britain, the number of vacancies between March and May reached a new record of nearly 1.3 million.

This has prompted employer groups to urge more flexibility to recruit from overseas.

The figures also show pay failing to keep pace with inflation in the last year.

Between January and March the unemployment rate in Scotland was a record low of 3.2%, down 0.9% on the previous quarter.

Commenting on the figures, Public Finance Minister Tom Arthur said: "The Scottish economy still shows signs of resilience with the employment rate increasing by 0.6 percentage points over the quarter.

"While today's figures continue to show recovery in Scotland's labour market, Scotland continues to face economic challenges with the rising cost of living, the continued impact of Brexit and recovery from the effects of the pandemic and the economic consequences of Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine."

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: "Today's figures show Scotland's labour market remains strong, with an increasing number of people on the payroll and unemployment at low levels.

"It's also great to see more women in work, with two million more women across the UK in paid work than in 2010."

Official figures also show regular pay is falling at the fastest rate since 2001 when taking into account rising prices.

Between March and May, pay excluding bonuses was down 2.8% from a year earlier when adjusted for inflation - the fastest drop since records began.

Household budgets are being hit by soaring food, fuel and energy costs, with inflation at a 40-year high.

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