Growth stalls

Scottish unemployment rate rises above UK as economy stalls


The latest figures show fewer in jobs

Scotland’s economy weakened substantially over the summer with unemployment surging back above 4%.

The number in jobs over the three months to the end of July fell by 33,000 while the unemployment tally increased by 19,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The unemployment rate is back to the rate of 12 months ago and is now above that of the UK as a whole (3.8%), which remained unchanged over the last quarter.

Furthermore, the number of people employed at 2,669,000 in Scotland is down on the recent record high at 2,702,000. This means that Scotland’s employment rate, at 74.9%, remains below the UK’s rate at 76.1%.

UK earnings excluding bonuses grew at an annual pace of 3.8%, while wages including bonuses rose 4%, an 11-year high.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “It is disappointing to see a sharp increase in unemployment after a period of encouraging figures.

“It shows we cannot be complacent. One of our key priorities is to work with the Scottish Government to boost the Scottish economy and create jobs.

“The UK Government is investing £1.4 billion in city and growth deals and we are preparing to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise when we leave the EU on October 31.

“But I would urge the Scottish Government to use their powers to best effect.

“Making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK and creating uncertainty by threatening a second independence referendum are holding Scotland back.”

Scottish Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “The increasing likeliness of a no-deal Brexit remains the biggest threat to jobs, businesses and our economy and the Scottish government will work as hard as we can to mitigate its impact.”

He added: “Our Future Skills Action Plan is one of the actions we are taking to help ensure Scotland has a skilled and productive workforce which is resilient to future economic challenges.”

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