>> 15 February 2011

Gordon MSP Alex Salmond has reacted to the latest earning figures showing Aberdeenshire to have higher than average salaries and a 10.5% increase in average gross weekly pay over last year.

The figures, published by Mackay Economic Consultancy shows gross weekly earnings in Aberdeenshire at £511.70 per week, well above the Scottish average of £463.20.

It also shows that between December 2009 and December 2010 weekly wages increased by some 10.5%, ranking the area the 5th highest earning in the country.

Commenting Mr Salmond said:

“From our thriving oil industry, to our rich agricultural land, to our successful local business sector, these figures are testament to the wealth of opportunity of which the whole of Aberdeenshire should be proud.

“I recently visited local Kintore company, STATS, and was encouraged to hear that they are seeking to take on new employees to expand their booming business. Companies like this are the backbone of the Gordon economy and I am delighted that they taking steps to create new employment opportunities in the local area.

“Due to the seasonal demands of the tourism sector, and traditional industries such as agriculture and food processing which are lower wage sectors, we must continue fighting to secure high value jobs as well. We must also ensure that as our young people leave education they have the opportunity to secure employment.

“The Scottish Government announced in last week’s Budget, that we will expand on the steps we have already taken for young people, investing a further £11.5 million to create 25,000 modern apprenticeship places - a record high for Scotland. The Budget also provides £10 million to support smaller firm to take on new employees and 7,000 flexible training opportunities for Small and medium enterprises.

“These figures will make encouraging reading for people in Aberdeenshire, and I will continue to do my best for employment in the area.”

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