Jobless total rises in Scotland as number of people in work falls
The unemployment rate north of the border now matches that of the UK as a whole.
Scotland’s jobless total rose by almost 5,000 between November and January to reach 118,000, according to the latest statistics.
The unemployment rate now stands at 4.3%, matching the rate for the UK as a whole.
Meanwhile, the total number of people employed in Scotland fell slightly during the quarter to 2,644,000.
The Scottish employment rate for those aged between 16 and 65 now stands at 74.8%, below the UK average of 75.3%, according to the data from the Office for National Statistics.
Scotland’s employability minister Jamie Hepburn said that while there had been a slight decrease in employment over the three-month period, there were now 80,000 more people in jobs compared with the pre-recession peak.
“Once more, we continue to outperform the UK on employment and unemployment rates for young people and women, 71.5.% of women and 58.8 % of young people are in employment in Scotland compared to 70.9% of women and 54.5% of young people in the UK,” he added.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It is encouraging that Scotland’s unemployment rate has fallen over the year.
“However, the most recent quarterly snapshot shows an increase of people in Scotland out of work and I urge the Scottish Government to use its considerable powers to strengthen the economy and help create the right conditions for sustained long-term employment.”
Scottish Labour’s economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “These figures underline the sense of complacency from the SNP government in Edinburgh when it comes to the economy.
Today’s labour market data show that the unemployment rate in Scotland is 4.3%. While this is up slightly compared to the three months before, this is also down 0.4%-points relative to the year before, and in line with the unemployment rate of the UK as a whole. (1/3)— Stuart McIntyre (@stuartgmcintyre) March 21, 2018
“We need to see a much more active role from the Scottish Government in economic development.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokeswoman councillor Carolyn Caddick said: “Scottish ministers have promised to drive forward our local economies but these figures show performance is stuck and stagnant.”
Andy Willox, the Federation of Small Businesses’ Scottish policy convener, said: “These worrying figures show that Scotland’s headline jobs metrics are both moving in the wrong direction.
“Getting local economies growing to reverse this trend must be the country’s decision-makers’ top priority.”
Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress general secretary, said: “Once again we are seeing small falls in employment and small rises in unemployment suggesting that continued pressures exist within the Scottish labour market.
“We would caution the Scottish Government not to become complacent or to simply wait for things to change.
“Rather, they must take action now to support economic growth with a clear focus on raising wages and encouraging secure and quality jobs across the economy.”