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More out of work as Scots economy ‘trembles’

Jobless numbers still rising 

Unemployment rose in Scotland last quarter as the labour market continued to grapple with a shake-out in industry and skills shortages in key sectors.

The jobless total rose by 0.2% to 4.3%, the same as the UK figure, according to Labour Market Statistics, released by the ONS for November to January.

Scotland’s employment rate has fallen by 0.2 percentage points, with the employment rate below the UK average at 74.8%. 

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “While these results do show a slight decrease in employment over the quarter, our employment rate has increased over the year and the longer term, one percentage points higher compared with last year, and showing 80,000 more people in employment compared to 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.

“Our support for young people includes a commitment to train at least 28,000 new apprentices next year, including opportunities at degree level, and 5,000 Foundation Apprenticeships in the senior phase of Curriculum for Excellence, by 2020.”

Labour’s Economy spokesman Jackie Baillie said: These figures underline the sense of complacency from the SNP government in Edinburgh when it comes to the economy.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson councillor Carolyn Caddick said: “These figures show a trembling economic picture. Thousands of jobs have been lost and Brexit threatens tens of thousands of jobs.”

Andy Willox, the FSB’s 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.

“The Scottish Government could do worse than using our public sector’s enormous spending power to kick start local economies.”

Matthew Percival, CBI Head of Employment, said the UK figures show another tentative sign of a return to positive real pay growth, which, alongside yesterday’s fall in inflation, points to an easing of the pressure on household incomes.

“There has also been an increase in the number of people looking for work, which will be welcomed by the growing number of employers struggling with acute labour and skills shortages,” he said.

“While companies have welcomed the agreement in principle of a status quo transition that maintains EU workers rights, the significant number of EU migrants leaving is a reminder that the UK must remain an attractive place to work.”



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