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Alarm bells as Scottish jobless total rises

Unemployment is rising (photo: Terry Murden)

Scotland’s unemployment total rose by 8,000 in the three months to October and now stands at 114,000.

The unemployment rate increased by 0.3% to 4.1%, below the UK rate of 4.3% which fell by 26,000. The number of people employed across the UK also fell by 56,000.

Scottish Minster for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “It is disappointing to see a slight fall in employment and a slight rise in unemployment over the last quarter.

“However, our overall unemployment rate remains lower than the UK’s and it is also encouraging to see youth unemployment rates continuing to outperform the rest of the UK.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “Today rise in unemployment is disappointing and is a reminder of how important it is that the Scottish Government uses its extensive new powers to tackle Scotland’s economic challenges.

“We have delivered on our commitment to make the Scottish Parliament more powerful and more accountable to people in Scotland.

“The Budget [on Thursday] is an opportunity for the Scottish Government to set out how it will use its new powers to drive economic growth. It is for Holyrood to decide how to use its new income tax powers, but I have been clear that making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK would harm our economy, be bad for business and put jobs at risk.”

Scottish Liberal Democrats economy spokesman Carolyn Caddick said:  “These numbers will horrify people. Scottish jobs are down and unemployment is up. The Scottish economy is erratic and unsteady. 

“Both governments need to think big for the long term. There have been massive downgrades to the economy forecast by the Office of Budget Responsibility and other commentators.”

Matthew Percival, the CBI’s UK head of employment, said:The number of people [UK] in employment has fallen, but the unemployment rate remains low and there are still opportunities for job seekers with vacancies at a record high.

“Raising productivity is key to turning this around.  Progress from business and government on the Industrial Strategy must help to raise living standards across all parts of the UK.”

Mariano Mamertino, EMEA economist at the job site Indeed, said:Britain’s once mighty rate of job creation is waning fast. The number of unemployed people is still falling, but that can hardly be considered a win as many of them are leaving the workforce rather than entering work.

“With official data also confirming that the flow of workers from the EU has slowed since the Brexit referendum, in many areas skill shortages may soon get worse.”

Christmas jobs boost

The Fort Kinnaird Recruitment and Skills Centre, a private, public and third sector partnership designed to support employers and jobseekers, handled 3,000 online applications and CVs for 540 positions with 49 employers during the Christmas recruitment season.

John Gibson, business development manager, said that last year more than a third of Christmas ‘temps’ went on to secure permanent employment at Fort Kinnaird.

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