Scottish jobless figure rises as UK falls

Generic image of a call centre As well as a rise in unemployment, the number of people in work has risen by 10,000 in three months

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The number of people seeking work in Scotland has risen sharply, while it fell across the UK as a whole.

In the three months to the end of August, 13,000 more Scots were looking for jobs, taking the total to 231,000. Across the UK it fell by 20,000.

The Scottish unemployment rate is now 8.6%, while the UK average unemployment rate stands at 7.7%.

However, the number of Scots claiming Jobseekers' allowance fell by 1,100 to 134,000, compared to a 5,300 UK rise.

That is the sixth fall in the Scottish claimants of unemployment benefit over the past eight months.

Analysis

Another mixed picture from the unemployment figures - Scotland up on one count, down on the other, and the UK picture in reverse.

But one trend worth watching is for the downturn affecting women worse.

On the broader count, from June to August, unemployment among men, across the UK, was down 56,000 on the previous quarter, while among women, it was up 36,000, topping one million.

Over the past year, 100,000 fewer men have been found to be in search of work, while that's the case for 77,000 more women.

No such breakdown for Scotland, though.

Compared with June-to-August last year, the broad count of Scottish unemployment has gone up by 37,000, while in England it is down by 52,000.

In Wales, the number of unemployed people is down by 11,000 while it is up by 2,000 in Northern Ireland.

The Office for National Statistics figures also show the number of people who are in work - which in Scotland, has gone up by 10,000 in the three months to August.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said: "I welcome the news the number of people receiving Jobseeker's Allowance fell last month. A lot of work is needed to create a long-­lasting labour market recovery and we have already begun that task."

With major cuts in public spending leading to an independent report estimating the loss of 95,000 jobs in Scotland, Mr Moore added: "Only a balanced economy will guarantee the necessary investment for new jobs.

"The Spending Review is a crucial stepping stone on the way to recovery. It is not just about cuts and tackling the deficit, but laying the groundwork for future growth."

'Too high'

Jim Mather, the Scottish government's economy minister, warned the figures demonstrated that Scotland's recovery remained fragile, and that the UK government's proposed spending cuts were too quick and too deep.

"The danger of cuts imposed by Westminster, borne out in today's figures, underline the urgent need for Scotland to secure economic powers and financial responsibility so that the Scottish government and parliament have all the tools needed to boost growth and employment," he said.

"Using the powers currently available to us, we are prioritising skills and training and generating significant numbers of jobs in the Scottish economy through our Economic Recovery Plan, as highlighted by the increase in employment of 10,000 in the Scottish labour market during the three months to August 2010.

He added: "Scotland's unemployment rate remains below the EU average and that of the United States, as well as other parts of the UK such as London and the north east, but it is too high and needs to be brought down".

Scottish Labour finance spokesman Andy Kerr accused the SNP administration of failing to get Scotland working.

He said: "With the unemployment rate higher than anywhere else in the UK, it's time for government ministers in Scotland to get serious.

"Scotland's jobs market is taking a pounding from the Salmond slump and the Con Dem cuts and 13,000 people are paying the price.

"The SNP is causing Scotland to lag behind the rest of the UK."

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