Scottish Unemployment Figures Change Amid Growing Sector Confidence
Scotland’s unemployment fell to its lowest rate since the recession over the last quarter, amid growing oil and gas contractor confidence on the UK Continental Shelf.
Unemployment in the country dropped by 0.6 percentage points to 4 percent, equalling the figure for March to May 2008, the labour market statistics for Feb-Apr 2017, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed.
Over the year, Scotland’s employment rate increased by 0.9 percentage points, with the employment level rising by 44,000, the official figures revealed.
“Scotland’s unemployment rate is at its lowest rate since the recession and matches the lowest on record for Scotland since the series began. With the employment rate rising, it’s clear this is hugely positive news for our economy and the jobs market,” Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn, said in a government statement.
“Once again, despite adverse prevailing economic conditions, Scotland’s job market continues to be resilient and robust,” he added.
The oil and gas downturn led to 124,000 UK North Sea job losses, according to data compiled by Houston-based consulting firm Graves & Co.
Recent findings from the 26th Oil and Gas survey revealed rising optimism in the region however.
Conducted by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Fraser of Allander Institute, the survey revealed that 38 percent of contractors were more confident about business on the UKCS compared to just 10 percent who were less confident.
The numbers represent a significant rise from historic lows six months ago when only 12 percent of contractors were more confident and 47 percent were less confident.
This return of confidence in the North Sea oil and gas industry is expected to help bring back well-paid and highly skilled jobs, according to Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman.
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