SNP Manifesto: Productivity and unemployment

30th May 2017

“Productivity has been growing faster [in Scotland] than the UK and unemployment is lower than the UK average.”

  • Productivity is about how efficiently value is created in the economy—in the case of workers, for example, dividing economic output by the number of man-hours that went into making it.
  • Scotland’s productivity has been growing faster than the UK’s, although for years it’s been lower than average—so it’s only really catching up.
  • Output per hour worked rose by 3.5% in 2015, according to Scottish government statisticians. In the UK as a whole the rise was 0.9%.
  • Scottish output per hour is now only a fraction lower than the national average—at 99.9%, although output per job—a different way of measuring productivity—still lags behind, at 97.8%.
  • Figures from the Office for National Statistics, calculated slightly differently, show a bigger gap in both cases.
  • The unemployment rate in Scotland, for those aged 16 and over, is 4.4%. In the UK as a whole it’s 4.6%. The unemployment rate takes everyone who either has a job or is actively looking for one, and shows what percentage of them are in the latter group.
  • But the Scottish employment rate—just how many people are in work as a percentage of the working-age population—is below average. Both these things can be true at the same time because Scotland has a higher rate of people who are ‘economically inactive’ - not in the market for a job, and so not counted as employed or unemployed.

This fact check is part of a roundup of SNP manifesto launch. Read the roundup.