Official figures have shown that unemployment in Scotland has dropped below 200,000, the first time in three years it has been so low.
The latest figures, which were released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed that for the period from December 2012 to February of this year, there were 197,000 out of work; a fall of 11,000. This puts the jobless rate across the country at 7.3 per cent, 0.6 per cent below the UK average.
The ONS also showed that the number of people finding work in Scotland was at a 12-year high, with 39,000 people entering employment. This takes the total number of people in work in Scotland to over 2.5 million, pointing to an improvement in business confidence.
The economy grew in the final quarter of the year by 0.5 per cent too.
Many factors have contributed to the growth, most notably in the oil and gas industry. In other sectors though, the reorganising of finances, often with the help of alternative commercial finance in Scotland, has helped.
The news was welcomed by Michael Moore, the Scottish Secretary, who said it showed “positive” signs. However, he did go on to warn that much more work was still needed.
His sentiments were echoed by the Finance Secretary John Swinney and the finance spokesman for Scottish Labour, Ken Macintosh. Both said that Westminster policies were not helping national policies, though.
The ONS figures also showed that Job Seeker’s Allowance claimants were down by 600 from 12 months ago.