Alex Neil MSP has given a cautious welcome to the most recent labour market statistics showing that employment in Scotland is rising and unemployment is falling – at a faster rate than the UK as a whole. Scotland’s headline employment rate remains higher than the UK for the eighteenth consecutive month of labour market statistics. In Airdrie & Shotts the latest figures show the largest month on month drop in unemployment in Scotland, but the constituency still has an above average unemployment rate.
Over the three month period January-March 2012, the level of total employment in Scotland among those aged 16 and over increased 0.5 percentage points to 71.2 per cent. The UK employment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 70.5 per cent over the same period. Scotland’s unemployment level for people aged 16 and over fell by 0.4 percentage points, while UK unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points.
Unemployment in Airdrie and Shotts decreased by 0.4 per cent in the past month; the largest decrease in Scotland. But unemployment in the constituency now sits at 5.9, which is above the Scottish average of 4.2%. Mr Neil, in his role as Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure & Capital Investment, recently announced new £30 million of funding to help tackle youth unemployment and has called for the UK Government to honour its commitment to funding shovel ready projects to boost employment.
Alex Neil said:
“The figures show that there are positive indications in the Scottish economy and that the Scottish Government is delivering. This is the biggest rise in employment in Scotland since last spring, but the figure for those out of work remains far too high – there is absolutely no room for complacency, and we will continue working to tackle this problem.
“Things are moving in the right direction in Airdrie & Shotts, as the constituency with the largest decrease in unemployment in Scotland over the past month. I am working hard to attract new jobs and industry to the area.
“If the UK Government were to meet their commitment to funding shovel ready projects we could further boost employment. In Airdrie & Shottswe could see more new houses, accelerated housing modernisation, road improvements and insulation programmes.
“The UK Government needs to do more to help boost the Scottish economy as it has the powers to boost job creation. It needs to change tack from its austerity drive which is pushing people onto benefits, and follow the Scottish Government’s lead by investing in infrastructure projects to help support the Scottish economy.”