Employment


The employment rate is the percentage of people aged from 16 to 64 who are in work.

Scotland’s employment rate rose from 67% in 1993 to peak at 74.5% in 2007. It fell after the 2008 financial crisis to a low of 70.5% in 2012 and recovered to near its pre-crisis peak in 2015. The slight fall in 2016 is likely due to the impact of the oil price crash of 2014-15 on companies serving the oil and gas industry (see graph on Scotland's GDP growth).

The UK shows a similar pattern but until 2004 its employment rate was as 1 to 2 percentage points higher than Scotland’s. Since then, Scotland’s employment rate has mostly remained slightly higher than the UK’s.

Each person aged 16-64 is placed into three categories in the statistics: employed (has a job), unemployed (seeking a job) and economically inactive (no job and not seeking one). The employment rate is the number employed divided by the sum of all three. The unemployment rate however is the number unemployed divided by the sum of employed and unemployed. For this reason the two rates do not add to 100% and it is possible for both rates to decrease (or increase) at the same time as happened in 2016.

The dip in Scotland's employment rate in 2016 was due to a rise in the number of people economically inactive. Further detail on this can can be found in the Scottish Labour Market Trends report from the Fraser of Allander Institute and Scottish Centre for Employment Research.

References

The data shown in the above graph are UK Office of National Statistics data series LF42 (Scotland) and LF24 (UK).

This graph was published in A Nation Changed? The SNP and Scotland ten years on. A book with contributions from various authors edited by Gerry Hassan and Simon Barrow.

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