The SNP is today welcoming new figures showing employment in Scotland at its highest level since records began.
2.575m people over 16 – 13,000 more than the previous record pre-recession - are now in employment according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The figure marks an historic high - higher than the employment rate on the date of the first meeting of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 (2.29m); the rate at the end of the Holyrood Lib-Lab coalition government in 2007 (2.558m) and the date on which the Edinburgh Agreement was signed in October 2012 (2.468m).
On top of this, female employment has increased by 46,000 over the year – and the female employment rate is now 1.8 per cent higher than the UK figure.
The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance fell by 2,400 over the month to March – the 17th monthly fall in a row.
The figures also show Scotland continuing to outperform the UK across all headline labour market indicators with a lower unemployment rate, higher employment rate and lower economic activity rate.
Welcoming the figures, SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn, who sits on the Parliament's Welfare Reform Committee, said:
“Employment is now at an historic high – higher than during key Scottish dates such at the first meeting of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the end of the Lib-Lab coalition at Holyrood in 2007 and the date the Edinburgh Agreement was signed in 2012.
“These record employment figures are an endorsement of the SNP’s actions in government to support the Scottish economy. At a time of unprecedented budget cuts being passed down from Westminster, this is a significant achievement that must be welcomed. But we know there is more that can be done.
“With the full powers only independence can bring, we could do so much more to strengthen the Scottish economy and build a fairer Scotland. Reports today of a 400 per cent increase in food bank use as a result of Westminster’s unfair welfare reforms underline the need for a YES vote in September.”
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