Kenneth Gibson has welcomed news that unemployment in Scotland fell by 29,000 between May to July and now stands at 130,000.
The Office for National Statistics has released data showing that the Scottish unemployment rate is now 4.7% compared to 4.9% for the whole of the UK.
The number of people in employment rose 51,000 over the quarter to 2,631,000 in Scotland, the largest quarterly rise on record.
Commenting, Kenneth said:
“As the First Minister stated when launching the Programme for Government last week, the SNP Government is determined to build an economy where everyone has a fair chance to contribute and share in the benefits of economic growth. These encouraging figures continue to show that the fundamentals of the Scottish economy are strong, with a 51,000 rise in the employment level and a drop of just over 1% in the unemployment rate over the quarter.
“While these figures are welcome, the SNP Government is absolutely committed to taking further action. Our Labour Market Strategy shows that there is still more that we can and will do. As businesses continue to face the ongoing uncertainty created by Brexit, our planned £500 million Scottish Growth Fund is designed to support them, the workforce and the economy to grow. The fund will enable small and medium-sized firms to access investment that would otherwise remain out of reach. In addition, £100 million will be injected into our capital spending plans this year, providing a significant boost to the £6,000 million worth of projects already under construction and supporting activity and jobs in key sectors of the Scottish economy.
“Scotland continues to outperform the rest of the UK in terms of youth employment and I am very pleased that the female employment rate has again risen over the quarter, a testament to our work to ensure women have the same equality of opportunities in the labour market as their male counterparts.”