Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed news of a sharp fall in unemployment in Scotland over the past year.
The Labour Market Statistics for January to March 2017 show the unemployment rate has dropped from 6.1% a year ago to 4.4%.
The number of people in work has increased by 41,000 in the past 12 months, the Office for National Statistics figures show.
Scotland continues to perform strongly when it comes to female participation in the labour market, with the female unemployment rate falling to 4.2%. Meanwhile, the youth employment rate rose from 54.8% to 58.7%.
Mr Matheson said: “Scotland now has a lower unemployment rate than England, Wales or Northern Ireland, which shows that our labour market is performing well despite significant economic challenges beyond the Scottish Parliament’s control.
“The rise in youth employment is particularly encouraging, with Scotland now having the fourth-lowest unemployment rate among young people in the European Union.
“These latest figures are a testament to the Scottish Government’s efforts over the past 10 years to grow a productive and sustainable economy.
“We’ll continue to work to support employment, including through local initiatives such as the jobs fayre I organised with Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald last month.”