SCOTLAND'S unemployment rate dropped slightly in the last quarter, according to the latest figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate for people aged 16 and over between April and June was 4.3%, a 0.1% drop on the previous quarter.

This was below the UK-wide unemployment rate of 4.7% for over-16s.

There was also a slight drop in Scotland's employment rate, which fell to 74.2% for those aged 16 to 64, a 0.1% fall on the previous three months.

There were 2.538 million people aged 16 to 64 in employment between April and June while 117,000 in that age range were unemployed.

Scotland's Employment Minister Richard Lochhead said: "For April-June 2021, Scotland's employment rate estimate decreased slightly over the quarter to 74.2% and the unemployment rate estimate decreased slightly over the quarter to 4.3%.

"Separate HMRC early estimates, also published this morning, show the number of payrolled employees has increased over the month by 17,000 to 2.4 million in July 2021, however this is 28,000 fewer payrolled employees compared with February 2020, which reflects our gradual ongoing economic recovery from the pandemic.

"We are carefully monitoring any impact on employment, particularly as the Job Retention Scheme continues to unwind, and taking action where necessary.

"The Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to support employees and employers, but the UK Government must extend furlough for those that still need it.

"As we continue to move out of lockdown, we are pushing forward with an ambitious agenda of recovery and economic transformation that builds on the £3.7 billion in Scottish Government support to business since the start of the pandemic."