Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland
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Scottish Secretary responds to Labour Market stats for May 2024

Alister Jack says getting more people into employment is a priority with more than £3bn now invested directly into Scotland to boost growth and prosperity.

The latest Labour Market Statistics have been published this morning here.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack yesterday said: 

We’ve made good progress as wages are rising faster than inflation and payroll numbers in Scotland have increased since the start of 2024. We are also putting more money in people’s pockets by halving inflation, cutting taxes and boosting the National Living Wage.

Getting more people into employment is a priority. Our £2.5bn Back to Work measures are transforming lives and, with direct UK Government investment in Scotland now standing at more than £3bn, we are creating jobs and opportunities right across the UK.


  • Around 2.4million people in Scotland are £833 better off on average per year thanks to two National Insurance cuts.
  • 200,000 hard-working Scots are seeing an average increase of £1800 a year thanks to the biggest ever rise to the National Living Wage.
  • Scotland’s unemployment rate at 4.4% from January to March 2024 is slightly improved on the previous quarter, down 0.1 percentage points from how it stood between October and December 2023. This compares to an increase of 0.5 p.p. for the UK overall, which stands at 4.3%.
  • Comparing year-on-year figures however, Scotland’s unemployment rate of 4.4% is up 1.0 p.p. or 28,000 over the year to stand at 120,000. The UK unemployment rate has also slightly weakened with an increase of 0.3 p.p. at 4.3%.
  • Scotland’s employment rate at 73.1% is below the UK rate of 74.5%. Over the last quarter, Scotland’s employment rate fell by 1.2 p.p. or 38,000. Also, employment level is 46,000 down compared to one year ago (-1.6 p.p.). The UK’s employment rate at 74.5% is down 0.6 p.p. on the quarter and down by 0.8 p.p. over the year.
  • The seasonally adjusted number of  people claiming benefits in April 2024 at 104,200 is slightly down from 105,100 in March (-900) and is 8,800 down from the 113,000 one year ago.


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