Low Unemployment rate masks trend of rising inactivity

12th July 2017

Scottish Chambers of Commerce have welcomed the news that Scotland’s unemployment level has fallen by 19,000 in the three months to May 2017, resulting in an unemployment rate of just 3.8%.  However, there are fewer people in employment and more people economically inactive in Scotland than there were a year ago, highlighting the continuing challenges facing the Scottish economy.  Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“It is extremely welcome that Scotland’s unemployment rate has fallen to just 3.8% in the three months to May.  Whilst this is an outstanding achievement and compares very favourably to the rate of 4.5% across the UK as a whole, it is worth taking a look at some of the numbers behind the headline figure.

“Compared to this time last year, there are now 6,000 fewer people in employment in Scotland; whilst 65,000 more people are economically inactive.  These numbers highlight the continuing challenge facing the Scottish economy at a time when businesses are seeking staff with the right skills to help them to succeed and grow.

“Uncertainties remain over the position of EU workers in businesses right across Scotland, and many businesses continue to report skills shortages and difficulties in being able to find the talents they need to bring to their workforce.  That is why government must continue to focus on providing support for upskilling and reskilling people who are unemployed or in work, because Scottish business cannot afford to have rising economic inactivity.

“As Scotland seeks to internationalise our trade, we need skills in the likes of ecommerce, yet there is no formal university degree in this discipline, nor is there yet a government strategy that comprehends and embraces it.”