There was some good news for the economy in December 2012, as official figures showed unemployment in Scotland fell again.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed that there are now 204,000 people unemployed in the country. This is a drop of 19,000, putting the country’s unemployment rate at 7.6 per cent – below the 7.8 per cent average across the UK.
The figures, covering August to October 2012, were welcomed by John Swinney, Holyrood finance secretary.
Commenting on the largest fall in unemployment since the start of 2008, Swinney said:
“These figures mean the headline jobless rate now at its lowest in almost three years, but more still needs to be done, particularly in light of the fall in employment.”
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce also agreed that the news is good but that greater efforts were needed. The body’s chief executive, Liz Cameron said:
“We welcome the fact that the rate of unemployment has fallen below the UK average but figures published by the Office for Budget Responsibility last week revealed that the expectation is that unemployment in the UK as a whole will get worse.”
Cameron called on government to focus more on helping businesses take on new staff, through easing burdens in other areas.
Reducing their own burdens, often through new commercial finance options such as factoring, is a step many businesses are already taking.
Another area thought to need more attention is the youth unemployment rate in Scotland. However, ONS figures also revealed this had fallen in the period too, from 25.4 per cent to 21.1 per cent; again below the national average.