The number of Scots in work has reached a new high, with a record 2.6million people across the country now in employment.
The total, which covers the period January to March this year, is the highest since records began in 1992.
Employment is up by 29,000 over the quarter and is 67,000 higher than the same time last year, figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed (ONS).
The employment rate in Scotland continued to be above that for the UK as a whole, with 73.5% of the population in work north of the border, compared to 72.7%.
At the same time as employment rose, the number of Scots who are out of work fell.
There were 178,000 people unemployed in the period January to March, a drop of 18,000 over the quarter and 21,000 lower than the first three months of last year.
Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“This is good news to hear that Scottish unemployment is falling. The overall figure shows that Scottish businesses are becoming more confident to invest in new talent for the growth of their company.
“However, digging deeper with these figures, we can see that males have experienced an increase in employment, but this is not the same case for women who experienced a fall in employment by 5,000. It is crucial that our businesses prioritise a diverse skills base to maximise the opportunities available to the Scottish economy.
“For our members, championing the necessity to grow and nurture our talent is a priority and by leading the national conversation on what the business needs are to rejuvenate Scotland’s talent, we can create a positive environment for Scottish businesses.”
The number of people in work is at record levels across the UK, fuelled by more self-employment.
More than 30.4 million people are now in work – the highest since ONS records began in 1971 – while self-employment has also reached a record high of 4.5 million.
The number of people working for themselves jumped by 183,000 in the quarter to March, compared with a rise of 375,000 over the past year.
Unemployment has fallen by 133,000 to 2.2 million, the lowest for five years, giving a jobless rate of 6.8%.
Other data showed that jobseeker’s allowance claimants fell by 25,100 in April to 1.12 million, the 18th consecutive monthly reduction.
Meanwhile, average earnings increased by 1.7% in the year to March, slightly ahead of the latest CPI inflation rate of 1.6% – the first time this has happened for four years.
The number of economically-inactive people fell by 85,000 in the latest quarter to 8.85 million, while long-term and youth unemployment also fell.
The number of people out of work for over a year was down by 32,000 to 813,000, with unemployment among 16 to 24-year-olds falling by 48,000 to 868,000, the lowest figure for five years.