The number of Scots in work has jumped by 15,000 in three months, new figures have shown.
Scotland’s unemployment rate has now reduced to 6.9% and remains lower than the UK rate of 7.2%.
Official statistics reveal that over the period November to January, there were 2,561,000 people in employment north of the border.
That total is just 1,000 less than it was prior to the recession, according to the Scottish Government.
Employment has now increased for the last 13 months, with the new total 79,000 higher than it was 12 months ago.
Unemployment also fell over the period November to January, dropping by 6,000 to stand at 190,000.
The number of people who are out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell too, reducing by 3,300 between January and February to 106,800 – with this total 30,400 less than in 2013.
Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Scottish unemployment is falling and employment levels are rising and these figures are good news for the Scottish economy.
“Against a background of GDP growth and increasing levels of business optimism, many of the key indicators are painting a promising picture. Indeed, Scotland has seen the second highest increase in employment rates in the UK over the past year.
“However, the economic activity rate among women in Scotland continues to lag behind that for men. As the economy grows, businesses’ demand for skills will increase and we will require the widest possible pool of skills to draw from. That will mean assisting women back into employment who are outside the labour market and a key factor in this will be the availability of affordable childcare.
“Politicians are promising changes in the future, but business needs these changes now if we are to make best use of the skills that our country and our people have invested in.”
Alistair Carmichael, the Secretary of State for Scotland, said: “Creating the environment where businesses can create jobs and get people into employment is central to the government’s long-term economic plan.
“These figures show this plan is working for Scotland – that means more people into work and a Scottish economy that is going from strength to strength within the UK.”