Scotland business

Unemployment rises by 14,000 in Scotland

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Unemployment in Scotland rose by 14,000 between August and October to stand at 145,000, according to Office for National Statistics data.

The figures contrasted with the UK as a whole, which saw the jobless total fall by 16,000 to 1.62 million.

The unemployment rate is now 5.3%, compared with 4.8% for the UK as a whole.

Employment in Scotland fell by 40,000 over the quarter and by 24,000 over the year, to stand at 2,592,000.

In November, 54,100 people were out of work and claiming Jobseeker's Allowance.

The Scottish government said Scotland's unemployment rate had fallen by 0.4% over the year, and the nation had outperformed the UK on female and youth employment.

'Economic headwinds'

Scotland's Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: "These figures show that the Scottish labour market is resilient in the face of notable economic headwinds.

"While the unemployment rate fell over the year, it's concerning to see a rise over the last quarter.

"We have the second-highest employment rate out of the four UK nations, but it is clear that the result of the EU referendum has created uncertainty and weakened economic progress.

"In recent months we have announced steps to invest an additional £100m in capital projects in this financial year to help stimulate growth and support jobs, and we are establishing a new £500m Scottish Growth Scheme to support, in particular, small and medium enterprises."

'Supporting jobs'

The UK government's Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the statistics underlined the importance of Thursday's draft budget from the Scottish government.

He said: "The UK government is building an economy that works for everyone across the UK.

"We are supporting jobs and growth by keeping business taxes low and investing in infrastructure.

"As a direct result of the UK government's decisions last month, there will be a City Deal for every city in Scotland, more than £820m of extra funding for Scotland, and new support for digital infrastructure and research and development.

"But the Scottish government now hold the main levers to shape and strengthen the economy.

"They need to use them to boost the prosperity of people in Scotland."

Jobs market 'cooling'

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce said the rise in Scottish unemployment was an indicator of what could be expected in the economy in 2017.

Chief executive Liz Cameron said: "Triggered by uncertainty over Brexit and the increasing costs of doing business, these are potential signs that the labour market is cooling down.

"As businesses plan ahead to manage uncertainty, both the Scottish and UK governments can take immediate action to provide reassurance to businesses.

"The UK government must guarantee that existing EU workers can stay and work in the UK, and the Scottish government has a golden opportunity during the Budget announcement tomorrow to tackle the rising costs of business rates and provide a boost to business just when we need it most."

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