Scottish Labour Market Statistics: Comment from the Fraser of Allander Institute

Dr Stuart McIntyre of University of Strathclyde's Fraser of Allander Institute

TODAY’S labour market data from the Office for National Statistics provide our first opportunity to look back over the two years since the coronavirus was first identified in the UK. Since then, we’ve seen huge changes in our economy and day-to-day lives.

In the last year we have seen improvements in our headline labour market indicators, with the number of people in employment up over 28,000 and a fall in the number of people unemployed of nearly 12,000.  But relative to the pre-pandemic period two years ago, we still have over 15,000 more people unemployed, and 34,000 fewer people in employment.

For men, labour market outcomes are weaker on all measures than two years ago. Nearly 40,000 fewer men are in employment than two years ago, with nearly 16,000 more men unemployed and nearly 25,000 more economically inactive relative to two years ago. Over the same period female employment is up, and unemployment and inactivity down.

Commenting Dr Stuart McIntyre, Head of Research at the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “In the midst of the current cost of living crisis the headline labour market data today might be expected to give some reassurance. However, with inflation outpacing increases in wages the squeeze on household budgets continues.

“Improvements in headline labour market indicators over the past 12 months show that the economy is recovering from the worst of the pandemic, but there is still some way to go in the recovery.”

“Compared to two years ago there are still over 34,000 fewer people in employment in Scotland, and over 15,000 more people unemployed.

“There is also an across-the-board weakening of labour market outcomes for men, in contrast to those of women where we have seen falls in unemployment, inactivity and increases in employment compared to two years ago”.

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