Scotland business

Scottish unemployment total rises by 11,000

job centre Image copyright PA

Unemployment in Scotland rose over the summer months but fell in the UK as a whole, according to official statistics.

The jobless total north of the border increased by 11,000 in the three months to September, to stand at 166,000.

Across the UK, the number of unemployed fell by more than 100,0000 over the same period, to 1.75 million.

The Scottish unemployment rate is 6%, which is above the rate of 5.3% for the whole of the UK.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data also showed that employment in Scotland increased by 3,000, to reach 2,614,000.

The number of people claiming Job Seeker's Allowance dropped by 1,700 to 68,800 between September and October - 20,200 fewer than a year ago.

Unemployment in Scotland has risen seven times over the past year and fallen on three occasions. The quarter to July showed no change.

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Analysis by Douglas Fraser, BBC Scotland business and economy editor

Is it only the trouble in the oil and gas sector that is weighing on the Scottish economy? Or do recent job figures suggest something else is going on?

The data covering July to September repeats recent trends, of very strong job creation across most of the UK, but much weaker in Scotland.

Read more from Douglas

Responding to the latest figures, the UK government's Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "The labour market performance in Scotland is mixed with the number of people in employment at historically high levels but unemployment starting to move upwards.

"We will monitor the gap with the UK unemployment rate while continuing to pursue our policies for a low tax and higher wage economy that will benefit Scottish workers."

The Scottish government said Scotland continued to outperform the UK as a whole on employment, youth employment and female employment rates.

Fair Work Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "I am pleased to note the increases in the employment level.

"Although more work is required to ensure more young people find employment, it is good to know that 34,000 more people aged between 16 and 24 have found work since last year and that Scotland continues to perform better than the UK as a whole on this crucial indicator."

'Glass ceiling intact'

Scottish Labour said women had been worst hit by the rise in the jobless total, with 9,000 becoming unemployed over the quarter.

Public services spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: "The quickest way to a stronger economy is to increase the participation of women in the workforce, but today's figures show that under the SNP government in Edinburgh the glass ceiling remains intact."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie blamed the Scottish government for the rise in unemployment, accusing ministers of "spending too long fighting their constitutional battles and not enough effort on a decent economic plan for jobs".

'Work required'

Stuart Mackinnon, from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland, said: "While the proportion of people in employment in Scotland remains high, there's obviously work required to tune-up the country's economy and give firms the confidence to create jobs.

"There are a slew of big changes on the way for small employers during 2016.

"We would suggest to governments north and south of the border that we need to let these changes bed down before considering further adjustments to the business environment."

Scottish Trades Union Congress general secretary Grahame Smith said: "This was another disappointing set of statistics which confirms the swift reversal in Scotland's labour market recovery.

"Over seven-and-a-half years since the recession took hold, Scotland's unemployment rate is still precisely 50% higher than its pre-recession trough.

"While all age employment has seen a very small increase over the year, growth is now basically stagnant."

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