SCC News – Productivity and reskilling must be Government employment priorities

Scottish Chambers of Commerce have welcomed the news that Scottish unemployment fell by 17,000 and employment rose by 14,000 in the three months to April, but has called for continued action to make sure that this trend continues in future.  Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Not only has Scotland’s unemployment rate fallen sharply, but our employment rate has increased substantially too.  This is particularly good news at a time when there has been heightened uncertainty in terms of the Scottish and UK economies and is an indication that businesses continue to have the confidence to hire and invest in their workforce.

“There remain some areas of concern, however; not least the news that average earnings are continuing to lag behind inflation.  Low productivity rates dictate that earnings growth may be unlikely to improve significantly over the short term and, with inflation having risen by more than expectations, the pressures on consumer demand, business margins and future business investment continue.

“Scotland has also experienced a significant rise in the number of people dropping out of the labour market altogether over the past year.  Coupled with continued reports of hard to fill vacancies amongst Scottish businesses, this underlines the need for government to increase investment in training opportunities, not only for young people, but also for older workers to enable people to upskill and reskill and get back into the workforce.”