Scotland has seen another big fall in unemployment, with the latest figures showing the jobless total fell by 14,000.

Official statistics revealed the number of people classed as unemployed - which includes those out of work and not eligible for benefits - dropped to 207,000 in the three months from September to November last year.

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It comes after last month's figures showed Scotland had seen the biggest fall in unemployment for more than four years when joblessness fell by 19,000.

There are now 23,000 fewer people out of work than there were in the period September to November 2011.

The figures also revealed the number of people out of work and claiming jobseeker's allowance fell by 1,400 from November to a new total of 137,500 in December - 4,400 less than the last month of 2011.

But the number of people in employment has also fallen, decreasing by 24,000 to stand at 2,466,000 in September to November. While this was down on the previous three months, the employment total is 1,000 higher than the same period in 2011.

Scotland's unemployment rate is now slightly higher than that for the UK as a whole at 7.8%, compared to 7.7%.

The figures also revealed that youth unemployment has dropped to 82,000 in the period September to November last year, with 23,000 fewer 16 to 24-year-olds out of work than there had been 12 months previously.

The youth unemployment rate now stands at 19.9%, down 4.8% over the year, meaning Scotland has seen the largest annual decrease in this rate since 2006.

The fall in unemployment was welcomed by both the Scottish and UK governments.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said: "It is encouraging to see unemployment falling by 14,000 in Scotland over the last three months and 4,400 people fewer people claiming jobseeker's allowance compared to last year."

But he stressed: "There is no room for complacency as we get to grips with the wider challenges.

"The UK Government will continue working hard to get more people back into work and keep its focus on maintaining a stable and growing economy."

Mr Moore also argued that there needed to be a "joint approach from Scotland's two governments" on unemployment.

He said: "Next week, I will co-host the first Scottish Employability Forum, which will bring the UK and Scottish governments together with local authorities, delivery bodies and employers to find workable solutions for Scotland's unemployed people."

Meanwhile, Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said today's figures showed "unemployment in Scotland has continued to fall for the second monthly release".

He added: "The strong performance in youth unemployment over the year is particularly welcome.

"We have lower youth unemployment, higher youth employment and lower youth inactivity than the UK.

"What's more, this month's release sees the largest annual drop in the youth unemployment rate since the data series began in 2006."

He too stressed work must continue to "boost employment", adding: "The Scottish Government is taking direct action by investing in our infrastructure and maintaining the most competitive business environment anywhere in the UK.

"Our budget includes a tax relief package for business worth over £540 million this year and bring forward a further £385 million package of economic stimulus.

"We are also targeting growth markets and growth industries, and our efforts are paying off with today's Global Connections survey showing that Scottish exports increased by by £1.6 billion to £23.9 billion in 2011.

"With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence, the Scottish Government could do even more to strengthen our economy and create jobs."

Area Total unemployment %

Scotland 207,000 7.8%

Wales 124,000 8.4%

Northern Ireland 69,000 7.9%


North East 119,000 9.1%

North West 295,000 8.5%

Yorkshire/Humber 241,000 8.8%

East Midlands 190,000 8.2%

West Midlands 246,000 8.9%

East 207,000 6.7%

London 354,000 8.3%

South East 291,000 6.5%

South West 147,000 5.5%