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Is Scottish unemployment down?


The Claim:


“Scotland’s youth unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points over the year.”

This was tweeted by the Scottish Government Economy Twitter account.

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The stat used by the Scottish Government is from an Office for National Statistics report which had a warning at the top saying data was not certified as “National Statistics” - due to the numbers coming from small sample.

The figures quoted Scottish Government are from a very small Scottish sub-sample of UK-wide figures, meaning they aren’t certified as National Statistics.

Separate data published by the ONS, known as the Annual Population Survey, is based on a Scottish sample around 3x bigger. This is the official National Statistics measure of youth unemployment in Scotland.

Dr Stuart McIntyre, from impartial think-tank the Fraser of Allander Institute, lashed out at the “misuse” of figures after Finance Secretary Derek Mackay’s officials hailed a 0.3 per cent drop in the 16-24 unemployment rate.

Dr Stuart McIntyre tweeted the following in reply:


“STOP USING THE LFS DATA FOR THIS. You know full well that number comes from a TINY sample and that there is a much better and more reliable estimate of youth unemployment also released this morning. It shows youth (16-24) unemployment up 0.9% points over the year. Enough already.”

“Presuming (?) that this is an account run by the civil service, to put this out like this is truly shocking.”



Dr McIntrye has told The Scottish Sun newspaper that the Scottish Government were using “low quality data when they have a higher quality alternative”. Clearly highlighting the fact the Scottish Government were playing loose with the facts in order to hide the real figures.

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