Scottish Unemployment Drops

The total number of people unemployed in Scotlands fallen over the last 3 months to a total of 219 thousand.

Between December and February compared with the previous three months the number of people in work grew by 7,000 taking the total to about 2.4 million.

In March 137,100 people were claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, down 300 over the month and the second monthly fall in a row.

However, the rate of unemployment in Scotland is 8.1%, higher than the UK average of 7.8%.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said: ``These figures cover the period when the severe winter was hampering Scotland's economic activity, so it is heartening that we have still seen unemployment falling and employment rising. I welcome in particular, the second monthly fall in a row in the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance.

``At last month's Budget, the UK Government announced measures to help create more private sector jobs in Scotland. We are cutting corporation tax, cutting employers national insurance contributions and cutting regulation. Combined with our agreement that the high street banks will lend more to Scottish companies, this will help create jobs.''

First Minister Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, said: ``Today's figures present further signs that Scotland's economy is strengthening, and show the Scottish Government's robust actions to support jobs, skills and training are delivering real results.

``Employment has increased in Scotland for nine months in a row, and has now also increased compared to a year ago, by 25,000, while unemployment has fallen for the fifth consecutive month: the only nation in the UK where this sustained progress has been achieved.''

He added: ``But while today's labour market figures show further progress, we must continue to bring unemployment down.

``Scotland needs to secure further tools so that the UK Government cannot risk the recovery we are building, or undermine the positive path the Scottish economy is taking.''