Highlands and Islands have top employment rate nationally, Scottish Government data reveals
A LEADING Highland economist said recently released Scottish Government data paints an “encouraging” picture of the state of the jobs market in the north.
The figures from the Scottish Parliament information centre showed that there remains something of a north-south divide but all three Highland constituencies were performing well.
Overall the Highlands and Islands has the highest employment rate in Scotland at just under 79 per cent.
For employment, Skye, Badenoch and Strathspey and Inverness and Nairn both reached the top 10 out of 72 constituencies while Caithness and Sutherland came in at 22.
Economist Tony Mackay said: “These statistics for the Highland constituencies are very encouraging. The employment rates for all the constituencies in the region are above the Scottish average and the unemployment levels below the average.
“In relation to the employment rate, of the mainland constituencies, Inverness and Nairn ranks sixth, Skye Badenoch and Lochaber fifth, Caithness Sutherland and Ross 22nd of the 72 parliamentary constituencies.”
“I believe that the main reason for the improvement in the Highland economy has been the boom in tourism, which is because the fall in the value of the pound has made it a lot cheaper for foreign visitors to come to the Highlands and Islands.”
He added: “Caithness is suffering from the run down in activity at Dounreay but the overall statistics are very positive. The only caveat I would make is that average earnings in the Highlands are well below the national average.”