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Scottish unemployment higher than UK

Jobless rise poses challenge for Holyrood

David MundellUnemployment in Scotland rose by 8,000 in the three months to March and now stands at 169,000, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today.

The Scottish unemployment rate is 6.2% compared to 5.1% for the whole of the UK.

The labour market statistics also show the number of people in work in Scotland fell by 53,000 over the same period to 2,578,000.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell (pictured), said: “These figures are a reminder of the real challenges facing Scotland’s economy.  We know that we are experiencing a global economic slowdown, exacerbated in Scotland by the current downturn in the oil and gas sector.

“It is now more important than ever that Scotland’s two governments work together to do everything possible to boost the economy, create jobs and increase prosperity.  The UK Government has an ambitious plan to support economic growth right across the country, investing in the infrastructure we need and backing businesses. That includes investing in UK City Deals across Scotland.”

The SNP government preferred to focus on the annual figure which shows a rise of 2,000 out of work, and noted that 73.1% are in work, the second highest rate of the four UK nations.

It said Scotland’s female employment, unemployment and inactivity rates continue to outperform the UK, pointing out that the female employment rate of 70.1% remains above the UK rate of 69.2%.

The inactivity rate, measuring those who are not in work and not actively seeking work, rose by 1.3% over the year to reach 22%.

Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham said: “Today’s statistics highlight ongoing challenges in Scotland’s labour market. Despite this, there are 141,000 more people now working in Scotland compared to the low during the recession.

“We saw record numbers in employment in Scotland during 2015 but employment rates are perhaps now starting to reflect the current economic challenges we are facing, in particular in the oil and gas industry.

“While our unemployment rate continues to be higher than the UK as a whole, our employment rate is 73.1 per cent, which is the second highest in the four UK nations.

“Rates of female employment, unemployment and inactivity continue to outperform the UK, which is welcome, but we know we must do more to increase the numbers of women getting into good quality, full-time employment.

“The Scottish Government will continue to do everything we can to boost the economy and help people maximise their potential by supporting business, investing in infrastructure, funding skills and retraining opportunities and implementing our youth employment strategy.”

Headline statistics for the January to March 2016 quarter:

  • Employment in Scotland fell by 53,000 over the quarter, and by 45,000 over the year, to stand at 2,578,000.
  • The Scots employment rate decreased over the quarter at 73.1 per cent. The rate is below the UK average of 74.2 per cent.
  • Unemployment in Scotland rose by 8,000 over the quarter and is up 2,000 over the year. The level now stands at 169,000.
  • At 6.2 per cent, the Scottish unemployment rate is above the UK’s rate of 5.1 per cent.
  • Economic activity fell by 46,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,748,000. Also, the economic activity rate decreased over the year to stand at 78 per cent.
  • In April 2016, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance was 57,400 and claimant count, including Universal Credit was 72,600.


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