Scotland’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in the last quarter, according to the latest figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate for people aged 16 and over between May and July was 4.3%, a 0.1% drop on the previous quarter.
This was below the UK-wide unemployment rate of 4.6% for over-16s.
The employment rate for those aged 16 to 64 rose to 74.1%, a 0.2% increase on the previous quarter.
The UK-wide employment rate over the period for that age group was 75.2%, up 0.5% on the previous three months.
There were 2.5 million people aged 16 to 64 in employment between May and July in Scotland, while 117,000 people in that age range were unemployed.
Employment minister Richard Lochhead outlined the importance of the furlough scheme, amid calls for it to be extended.
“For May-July 2021, Scotland’s employment rate estimate increased over the quarter to 74.1% and the unemployment rate estimate decreased slightly over the quarter to 4.3%,” he said.
“Separate HMRC early estimates, also published this morning, show 9000 more payrolled employees in August than July 2021, however this is 25,000 fewer payrolled employees compared with February 2020, which reflects our gradual ongoing economic recovery from the pandemic.
“The Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to support employees and employers and we are carefully monitoring any impact on employment as the Job Retention Scheme unwinds at the end of this month.”
He added: “The furlough scheme has provided essential support to businesses and workers throughout the pandemic and is still needed as we move through recovery.
“We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to ensure furlough remains in place for as long as it is required but if it is removed, the UK Government must clarify as soon as possible what further assistance will be in place to support those most deeply impacted by the pandemic.”