SCOTLAND’S unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show just 3.5 per cent of economically active adults were unemployed between October and December.

The level was down 0.4 percentage points on the previous quarter.

Scotland’s employment rate in the last quarter of 2018 was also up 0.6 points to 75.5%.

Meanwhile the unemployment rate for the UK was 4% and its employment rate 75.8%.

Over the last year, Scotland’s unemployment rate has fallen 1 percentage point, while the UK’s has fallen 0.3 percentage points.

Scotland’s employment rate has risen 1.1 points and the UK’s 0.7 points over the year.

READ MORE: Unemployment in Scotland falls to record low

SNP business minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Despite the huge and continued challenges of Brexit, the Scottish economy and jobs market continues to strengthen.

“Scotland’s employment rate rose to 75.5%, close to the highest on record. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, a record low and lower than the UK rate of 4%.

Labour market outcomes for women and young people in Scotland once again outperform the rest of the UK.

“Scotland’s employment rate for women rose to 71.8%, higher than the UK rate of 71.4%. “The employment rate for young people in Scotland rose to 61.6%, higher than the UK rate of 55.8%. Scotland’s unemployment rate for women fell to 2.8% and for young people, to 7.6%, both record lows and lower than in the UK.”

READ MORE: Scots unemployment rate falls as wages climb

However he added: “As good as these latest stats are, the UK Government’s Brexit plans, in whatever form, will cost jobs, make people poorer and damage our society.

“We will continue to call on the UK Government to immediately rule out the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and extend the Article 50 process.

“However, as a responsible government we will also continue - and indeed intensify - our work to prepare for all outcomes as best we can.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "It is great news that unemployment is at a record low and more people than ever are employed.

"Scotland’s two governments are working together to strengthen our economy, with initiatives such as our growth deal programme beginning to reap rewards.

“I urge the Scottish Government to focus on using its extensive powers to ensure our economy thrives rather than making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK.”

Tory MSP Dean Lockhart added: "While the First Minister uses Brexit to distract from her government’s poor performance, hardworking Scots are getting on with their jobs.

“The real danger to the Scottish economy is the SNP and their plans to widen the tax gap with the rest of the UK, increase Council tax and impose a new Car Park Tax.

“The SNP have had 11 long years to grow our economy but Scotland’s economic growth still lags behind that of the UK. The simple fact is that under this SNP government Scottish taxpayers continue to pay more and get less.”