Reduction in net migration: a blessing or a curse?

Katerina Lisenkova

Fraser of Allander Institute


During the 2010 election campaign, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron set the Conservative Party’s migration policy target: to reduce the level of net migration from ‘hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands’.

Since then, net migration increased to an all-time high of 332,000 in 2015. Net migration from EU countries constituted just over 55% of the total (Figure 1).

Uncertainty associated with Brexit appears to have brought an end to this rise – in 2016 net migration registered its sharpest one year decline (25%) in recent history and settled, for now, at 248,000.

It is still well above the ‘tens of thousands’ target; but should we celebrate or worry about this recent change in the trend of net migration? My research shows that a significant reduction in EU immigration would lead, in the long run, to lower GDP per person; which in turn would necessitate higher taxes.

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Labour Market Statistics – June 2017

Yesterday saw the release of new data on the performance of Scotland’s labour market.

The headlines were all taken by the fall in the 16+ unemployment rate to a record 4% (it was 4.1% for 16-64 year olds), the lowest since May 2008 and the joint lowest since the data are available (1992, if you’re interested!).

For sure, a low unemployment rate is to be welcomed, but as we have cautioned before, headline labour market statistics can mask a range of underlying challenges.

In this blog we focus on a number of interesting features of yesterday’s data including changes by age and gender; changing employment and in particular changes in self-employment, with a brief comment on earnings and productivity in light of rising inflation.

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A summary of our latest Scottish Labour Market Trends report

We published the 3rd edition of our Labour Market Trends report today. In addition to the usual review of the headline trends in the labour market, this edition includes two in depth articles provided by the Scottish Centre for Employment Research. These articles focus on the increasing polarisation of training opportunities in the labour market and recent trends in trade union representation in the UK and Scotland.

The full report can be accessed here.

This blog summarises some of the key issues identified in our assessment of current conditions and outlook.

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Is Scotland on the brink of recession?

Official data published in April showed that the Scottish economy contracted in the final 3-months of 2016. That means that we’re just one data release away from ‘technical recession’ – that is, two consecutive quarters of falling GDP.

In this blog, we review the most up to date official and unofficial data to get a sense of how likely it is that we will slip into recession when the figures for Q1 2017 are published in July.

On balance, we think that it is going to be a close run thing.

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