The unemployment rate in Scotland has dropped to a record low of 3.5% according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Data covering the last three months of 2018 showed a drop of 0.3% in the jobless rate over the quarter – with the figure for Scotland below the overall UK unemployment rate of 4%
Over the period October to December there were 96,000 people in Scotland who were unemployed – a fall of 10,000 on the previous quarter.
Over the year, the figures indicate a fall of 21.5% in unemployment – a reduction of 26,000.
The total employment rate for those aged between 16 and 64-years-old rose to 75.5% overall, up by 0.5% of the previous quarter.
The employment rate for women in Scotland also rose to 71.8%, above the UK rate of 71.4%.
Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Despite the huge and continued challenges of Brexit, the Scottish economy and jobs market continues to strengthen.
“Labour market outcomes for women and young people in Scotland once again outperform the rest of the UK.
“As good as these latest stats are, the UK Government’s Brexit plans, in whatever form, will cost jobs, make people poorer and damage our society.
“We will continue to call on the UK Government to immediately rule out the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and extend the Article 50 process. However, as a responsible government we will also continue – and indeed intensify – our work to prepare for all outcomes as best we can.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It is great news that unemployment is at a record low and more people than ever are employed.
“Scotland’s two governments are working together to strengthen our economy, with initiatives such as our growth deal programme beginning to reap rewards.
“I urge the Scottish Government to focus on using its extensive powers to ensure our economy thrives rather than making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK.”