Glasgow City Council have announced that the unemployment rate in Glasgow has halved over the past five years. The study presented to the council’s Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm Committee shows that Glasgow’s economic performance is above the average for UK Core Cities.
The 2017 unemployment rate of 5.7% is the lowest it has ever been since estimates began in 2004. The chair of the Committee, Greg Hepburn, echoed the positive nature of the figures in his statements. Councillor Hepburn stated: “It is encouraging to see that Glasgow’s economy is moving on an upward trend”.
Figures in the study show an increase of 13,000 jobs from 401,000 in 2015 to 414,000 in 2016. This 3.2% increase is the third largest of all the UK Core Cities, behind only Manchester and Liverpool. Hepburn announced: “We want to ensure that all our citizens can secure sustainable, stable and reliable employment which pays at least the UK Living Wage".
However, that is not to say there is no room for improvement in some areas of Glasgow’s economy. In order to reach the targets set out in the Glasgow Economic Strategy, changes will have to be made. Hepburn recognised the need for such economic improvements, stating: “Whilst challenges such as increasing the city’s productivity rate remain, most of the indicators show a healthy and growing economy”.
Hepburn and the committee have laid out clear plans to ensure that these “positive trends continue”, such as the establishment of the Glasgow Partnership for Economic Growth. He stated: “One of the City Government’s key policies and commitments is inclusive economic growth, which aims to boost growth, create jobs, tackle poverty and improve the city’s health”.
Despite these positive trends, there are other areas of Glasgow’s economy which have not seen such seismic shifts. Glasgow maintains a consistently higher rate of adults claiming out-of-work benefits than other Scottish cities. However, even these figures show improvement with a decrease from 29.5% in 2000 to 16.1% in 2016. The figures published last week demonstrate structural changes, which, with the correct policies and commitments from the City Council, will hopefully continue to improve.