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Government urged to take action

Scottish jobless down – and so is number in work

David MundellUnemployment in Scotland fell by 14,000 in the last quarter – but so did the number of people in work.

The figure contrasted with the UK-wide figure which showed both unemployment and employment rising.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It is good news that unemployment continues to fall in Scotland.

“But with Scotland’s employment rates now lagging behind the rate of the UK and economic inactivity on the rise, these figures should be a concern to the Scottish government.

Unemployment in Scotland in the period July to September now stands at 129,000, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released today.

The Scottish unemployment rate is 4.7%, which is below the rate of 4.8% for the whole of the UK. 

But the number in employment in Scotland fell by 25,000 over the three months to September 2016. The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,604,000.

Across the UK unemployment fell by 37,000 while there were 49,000 more people in jobs.

Mr Mundell urged the Scottish government to use its budget next month “to set out how they plan to use the significant new tax and welfare powers they now have to support the Scottish economy.  

“The UK government is supporting  people into work and backing businesses to grow and create jobs across the UK, as we build a country that works for everyone.”

Hugh AitkenHugh Aitken (right), CBI Scotland director, said: “While the labour market has remained relatively robust, there is no room for complacency – especially going into a period that promises further economic adjustment.

“That’s why the CBI is urging the Scottish Government to use next month’s Budget to build on Scotland’s reputation as an attractive place to do business, with a stable and competitive system of tax alongside long-term commitments to strengthening skills and infrastructure.”

Andy Willox of the small firms group FSB called on the government to support a programme of public-funded work, such as repairing the pot-holed roads and improving broadband access.

A recent Audit Scotland report found that a third of Scotland’s local roads are in an unacceptable condition.

“Today’s reasonable job figures need to be read alongside other indicators showing declining business confidence and slow growth,” said Mr Willox.

At both the Autumn Statement and the Scottish Government budget, smaller firms want new plans to improve and repair local infrastructure – like roads and broadband.

“While mega-projects like the new Queensferry crossing are important, they need to be complemented with public works that help smaller firms service their local economies.

“Further, with £220m coming to Scotland from the apprenticeship levy, we’re looking for new efforts to boost the wider Scottish workforce’s digital skills.”

Scottish Chambers of Commerce warned against complacency. Liz Cameron, chief executive, said: “Whilst the news of falling unemployment in Scotland is very welcome, this does not tell the whole story about what is happening in Scotland’s jobs market. 

“The fact is that the number of people in work in Scotland is falling, with Scotland having seen the second largest decrease in its employment rate across the 12 UK regions and nations over the past year, with only the South West of England recording a worse decline.” 

Headline statistics for the July to September 2016 quarter

Employment in Scotland fell by 25,000 over the quarter, and by 12,000 over the year, to stand at 2,604,000.

The Scots employment rate fell by 0.5 p.p. over the quarter to 73.6 per cent. The rate is below the UK average of 74.5 per cent.

JobCentreUnemployment in Scotland fell by 14,000 over the quarter and is down 38,000 over the year.  The level now stands at 129,000.

At 4.7 per cent, the Scottish unemployment rate is below the UK’s rate of 4.8 per cent.

Economic activity fell by 39,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,733,000. Also, the economic activity rate decreased over the year to stand at 77.4 per cent.

In September 2016, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance was 54,000 and claimant count, including Universal Credit was 83,100.

Latest Data for Scotland:

Employment

The Labour Force Survey indicates that the number of people in employment in Scotland from July to September 2016 was 2,604,000.  Employment was down by 25,000 compared to the previous three months, and by 12,000 compared to the same quarter last year. The employment rate was down 0.5 percentage points on the previous quarter, and down by 0.6 percentage points compared the same quarter last year.  By comparison, the Scottish employment rate is below the UK average of 74.5 per cent.

Unemployment

Unemployment in Scotland was down by 14,000 over the quarter July to September 2016 at 129,000.  The level was down 38,000 on the same quarter last year. The unemployment rate was down 0.4 p.p. on the previous quarter at 4.7 per cent, which is down 1.3 p.p. over the year.

Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit

The number of people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) fell by 700 to 54,000 in October 2016.  The level is down by 14,600 on October 2015.  The claimant count level (JSA and Universal Credit) is up 700 over the month at 83,100 and the rate is unchanged over the month and up 0.1 p.p. the year to 3.0 per cent.

Economic Activity

The number of economically active (defined as those in employment or ILO unemployed, and seasonally adjusted) in Scotland in the July to September 2016 quarter was 2,733,000.  This was down 39,000 on the previous quarter, and by 49,000 on prior year levels.  Among those aged 16-64 the economic activity rate was 77.4 per cent, down 0.9 p.p. on the previous quarter, and down 1.6 p.p. over the year.

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