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Unemployment in West Lothian bucks the trend as jobless figures fall

Job Centre Plus sign outside building

West Lothian has bucked the trend as jobless figures rise across the UK.

The percentage of people unemployed is lower in West Lothian than Scotland and across UK wide, the Council’s Economic Development team has shown.

And new figures show that local unemployment levels have remained stable for the last year.

Nationally the jobless figure increased to 4.3% in the first three months of the year. The number of vacancies also slowed, meaning more unemployed people are competing for the same jobs.

West Lothian uses the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Claimant count which is a slightly more reliable measure of unemployment than the Office for National Statistics’ general estimate of unemployment rate which is based on a large sample of individuals surveyed every month in the UK Labour Force Survey.

The Claimant count for West Lothian is 3,155 people, or 2.7% for April 2024, which is lower than the Scottish rate (3.1%) and the British rate (3.8%). The latest rate is also slightly lower than the West Lothian figure for March.

The rate for April 2024 is now below the level seen around January 2020, which is the pre-Covid baseline.

The Claimant count breaks down into 1,860 men and 1,295 women.

The largest number of claimants is in the 25-49 age group (1,870). The next highest age groups are 18-24 (640) and 50 plus (600). Lowest are 16-17 (35) and 18-21 (405) . The percentage is the number of claimants as a proportion of the resident population of the same age.

Compared to the national picture, West Lothian’s claimant rate has remained stable and comparative to the same rate for this time last year . It was 2.8% in April 2023.

The council’s active Business Gateway team works with new startup businesses in the county and on programmes to attract businesses to West Lothian as well as working with established firms on training initiatives and expansion plans.

Geography also works in the county’s favour, as do good road links.

“The labour market in West Lothian is in a good place, overall.” said Kirsteen Sullivan, the deputy leader of the Council and Executive Councillor for the economy, community empowerment and wealth building.

She added: “West Lothian continues to perform well in a very challenging economic environment and we continue to sit below both the UK and Scottish average for unemployment.

"The local economy provides a supportive backdrop to fast growing companies. Increasingly people are choosing West Lothian as the location for a new business, taking advantage of road, rail and airport routes.

“Although the data highlights small percentage points, they represent local residents, and every full percentage point represents 1,000 people. So it is important that we analyse closely where we are , and do the very best that we can.

“West Lothian puts a huge emphasis on working in partnership with local businesses to promote better paid employment in the area.”


You can read the original story via Edinburgh Live here.

To request support from Business Gateway West Lothian, email


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West Lothian Council

The West Lothian Council News Editor.

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