14,000 join dole queue

Scots jobless figure rises above UK

A further 14,000 were added to the Scottish dole queues in the final three months of last year to take the total to 124,000, according to official data.

The increase took the unemployment rate from 4% to 4.5% – above the UK rate of 4.4%. The number of adult Scots under 65 in work fell by 30,000, to 2.53 million, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Meanwhile, wages grew by an average of 2.5% – up from 2.4% the previous month, prompting a Bank of England economist to warn of faster interest rate rises.

Scotland’s Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn described the latest data as “disappointing”, adding that the Scottish government “recognise the need for further investment in our economy and labour market”.

He continued: “This is demonstrated by our budget investments of almost £2.4bn in enterprise and skills and the most attractive package of non-domestic rates reliefs available anywhere in the UK, including the small business bonus, worth £720m, and the UK’s first nursery relief.”

He added: “However, these latest figures show 68,000 more people in employment compared to the pre-recession peak, with 17,000 more people in work over the year, and it is encouraging we continue to outperform the UK on employment and unemployment rates for young people and women.”

Scottish Labour’s economy spokesman Jackie Baillie said:These figures once again lay bare the extent of SNP and Tory mismanagement of our economy and their lack of an industrial strategy.

“In Scotland, unemployment is up, economic inactivity is up and employment is down. For SNP ministers to bury their heads in the sand and blame Brexit simply is not good enough.”

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