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Scottish Chambers of Commerce comment on Labour Market Figures

23rd March 2018

Labour market figures for the three months ending January 2018 has seen the UK wide employment rate once again return to the joint highest level since records began, at 75.3%.   There has been a slight softening in the number of overall vacancies in the UK labour market, from 824,000 to 816,000, but this remains at historically high levels.


Scotland’s employment rate has fallen by 0.2 percentage points, with the employment rate below the UK average at 74.8%.  Scottish unemployment has also increased by 0.2 percentage points, bringing it in line with the UK average rate of 4.3%.  


Employees are continuing to see meagre rises in earnings across the UK, with pay actually falling by 0.2% when adjusted for inflation (although this is flat when bonuses are included). 


Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:


“The UK labour market once again returns to the joint record high employment rate of 75.3%.   In tandem, the economic inactivity rate has also fallen to 21.2, another joint record.


“Although vacancies have declined slightly from the previous record high, the figure is still 56,000 more than for the same period last year, which continues to illustrate the challenges for firms looking to attract the talent they need to grow. This underlines the need for policymakers to deliver a future immigration system that enables the growth of the Scottish economy.


“Despite poor wage growth in real terms, there has been an increase in the growth rate in comparison to the last quarter. In order to ensure sustained real terms wage growth, there must be a renewed focus on increasing productivity. The private sector will lead the way, and we also expect our partners in government to do their part to remove barriers to investment and provide the long-term certainty businesses need to look to the future.”

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