Scotland

Scotland sees surge in unemployment

Pedestrians in Princess Street, Edinburgh Image copyright Getty Images

Scotland's labour market saw a surge in unemployment in recent months, according to new figures.

From April to June Scots out of work rose by 12,000 to 102,000 (3.6%), although this was below the UK rate.

The data from the Office for National Statistics also showed employment marginally decreased by 1,000 to just under 2.6 million.

The employment rate of 75.4% was close to the highest figure on record - 75.9%.

Business Minister Jamie Hepburn highlighted how Scotland's unemployment rate has now been lower than the UK's for 11 months in a row.

He added: "However, while Scotland's economy and jobs market remains strong and diverse, the UK government's EU exit plans - particularly the increasing likeliness of a no-deal Brexit - will cost jobs and make people poorer.

"Even with the best possible preparations, leaving the EU without a deal will hurt Scotland's businesses, disrupt trade and impact on all aspects of society.

"The Scottish government has consistently been clear that the best option for the future well-being and prosperity of Scotland, and the UK as a whole, is to stay in the European Union."

The ONS figures also show average hourly pay across the UK was up by 3.9% in the last year to June 2019.

Adjusting for inflation, wages are on the rise.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the latest figures presented a "mixed picture" and that "any increase in unemployment" was a cause for concern.

He added: "We cannot let up in our efforts to grow the Scottish economy. We will leave the EU on October 31 and begin to realise new opportunities for business.

"The UK government has also committed almost £1.4bn to date for city and growth deals across Scotland with more to come."

Andrew McRae, of Federation of Small Businesses Scotland warned that while the employment market was "holding steady" a no-deal Brexit risked an "economic breakdown".

He said: "FSB has urged the UK government for budgetary measures to buy smaller firms some much-needed breathing space this autumn.

"While the priority is to avoid a chaotic Brexit outcome, government at all levels must avoid new pressures on business at this critical point."

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