(Bloomberg) -- Employment in Scotland hit a record high at the end of 2022 as tightness in the labor market spread to all corners of the UK.
The portion of adults who have a job climbed to 76.6% in the three months ending December, up 2.4 percentage points from a year earlier.
The figures from the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday emphasize just how widespread the UK’s inflationary pressures are, turning up the heat on the Bank of England as it attempts to get the rise in the cost of living under control.
The BOE is concerned that a tight jobs market is adding to inflationary pressure in the UK. With workers in scarce supply, employers are offering more money to attract the staff they need.
But signs of strength in Scotland’s economy will be welcomed by the devolved government’s Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, who has recently locked horns with her peers in Westminster over the country’s independence.
The data also are a boost for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government in London, which has been struggling with its promise in the last general election to “level up” the regions of the UK and improve prosperity outside the capital.
Northern Ireland’s labor market, which suffers from the highest inactivity rate in the UK at 26.3%, also showed signs of picking up as it saw the largest increase in the employment rate — up 3.1 percentage points on a year earlier to 71.9%.
But the picture was bleaker in Wales, where inactivity — or people out of work and not looking for a job — climbed 2.3 percentage points to 25.5%.
Other regions which are home to some of the UK’s most deprived areas also showed little signs of improvement. The North East still experienced the joint-highest unemployment rate at 4.5%, even after falling by 1.1 percentage points year-on-year, and the East of England saw the largest rise in the unemployment rate, up 0.5 percentage points to 3.5%.
London itself, which contains pockets of deprivation, also recorded an unemployment rate of 4.5%. But the South West, home to many of the capital’s wealthier commuters, had the lowest jobless rate in the country at 2.1%.
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