Latest figures show more people in Scotland are in employment compared to the previous quarter and the same time last year. They also show unemployment has continued to fall.
In October 2015 employment in Scotland stood at 2,615,000, an increase of 3,000 in three months and 10,000 over the year.
Unemployment fell by 8,000 over the same period to 156,000.
Scotland’s employment rate increased to 74.3% whilst the unemployment rate fell from 5.9 to 5.6% over the quarter. The level of employment in Scotland is now 71,000 higher than in the same period in 2008.
Economic inactivity fell over the both the quarter and the year, meaning that Scotland continues to outperform the UK on employment and inactivity rates.
Meanwhile, figures released by Skills Development Scotland show that in 2014/15 a record 92.9% of school leavers went into positive destinations and Scotland’s youth employment increased by 20,000 over the year.
This means that youth employment is at its highest and youth unemployment at its lowest since 2008.
Commenting, Kenneth said:
“I am very pleased that this month’s figures reinforce the positive long-term employment trends in Scotland.
“There is rising employment, a fall in unemployment and further excellent news for youth employment.
"The youth employment figures are particularly welcome as is the record number of school leavers heading to positive destinations.
"Nevertheless, a number of challenges remain.
"Economic growth has been driven in part by the SNP Government's investment in infrastructure. UK Government plans threaten that.
“Real terms budget cuts on Scotland imposed by the Chancellor each year from now until 2020 mean we face increasingly tough choices.
“However, we will continue to use every power at our disposal to grow the economy, increase employment, lower unemployment and removing barriers to the jobs market."