Number of people working in education has fallen by 9,000

Elizabeth Buie

The number of people employed across all sectors of education in Scotland has dropped by 9,000 in the past year - a fall of 4.2 per cent - according to the latest labour market statistics, published this week.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that in the last quarter of 2011, 197,000 people were employed in the education sector - 2,000 fewer than in September and a drop of 15,000 compared with September 2010, when education employment hit 212,000, the high-point of the past two years.

Overall, public sector employment fell by 3.9 per cent last year, but private sector employment has risen slightly - by 7,800 since the fourth quarter of 2010.

Employment in devolved public bodies dropped by 19,100 (3.7 per cent) last year. This included a loss of 1,800 jobs in further education colleges.

Finance secretary John Swinney said: "In the face of severe spending cuts from Westminster, we have prioritised investment in frontline public services.

"We are also setting an ambitious programme of public service reform, challenging the public sector to reshape, integrate and deliver the best possible better services."

UK unemployment rose by 28,000 to 2.67 million during the three months to January, with the unemployment rate now at 8.4 per cent; in Scotland, it is running at 8.7 per cent.

The number of young people out of work in Scotland rose by 27,000 last year with the total of unemployed 16- to 24-year-olds standing at 103,000. The employment rate for this age group is 52.1 per cent, higher than the UK figure of 49.5 per cent.

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Elizabeth Buie

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