Scotland business

Rise in number of Scots seeking work

Job centre Image copyright PA
Image caption The unemployment rate in Scotland is now 5.1%, higher than the overall UK rate

Unemployment in Scotland rose by 11,000 between September and November 2016, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that unemployment in Scotland now stands at 139,000.

The number of Scots in work over the period also fell by 14,000, a figure which is higher than the drop seen across the UK as a whole.

Scotland's unemployment rate now stands at 5.1%, while the UK rate is 4.8% - its lowest rate for more than 10 years.

ONS labour market statistics show there were 2,604,000 people employed in Scotland.

The Scottish government said youth unemployment had decreased by 3.6 percentage points over the past year to 9.4% - a lower rate than the UK - and gave Scotland the second lowest unemployment rate in the EU.

Over the quarter, Scotland also had the second highest employment rate out of the four UK nations at 73.4% - though it is below the UK average of 74.5%.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in Scotland fell 1,100 to 52,700 in December, which was down by 11,200 on the same month of 2015.

'Extra investment'

The UK government's Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, said the statistics painted a "worrying picture" for Scotland.

"Whereas across the UK the news is better, here in Scotland unemployment is up, employment is down and Scotland's economy continues to lag behind that of the UK," he said.

"The UK government has devolved a raft of new powers to Holyrood, agreed a fair financial settlement as a strong foundation, and delivered £800m of extra investment for the Scottish government to spend.

"The Scottish government now needs to use all of these powers to secure and strengthen Scotland's economy".

Image copyright Wales News Service

Across the UK as a whole, unemployment fell by 52,000 to 1.6 million between September and November 2016. The jobless rate was steady at an 11-year low of 4.8%, in line with forecasts, the ONS said.

UK average earnings increased by 2.8% in the year to November, 0.2% up on the previous month. However, the number of people in work slipped by 9,000 to just over 31.8 million, according to the ONS.

'Strong performance'

Holyrood's Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn, said the Brexit vote had caused "significant economic uncertainty" which was threatening economic recovery and the jobs market.

He added: "It is clear that the Scottish and UK economies, are currently facing challenging economic conditions nevertheless, despite a slight rise in the unemployment rate over the most recent quarter, it has fallen over the past year.

"It is also heartening to see how strongly we are performing in the youth labour market, where we see the unemployment levels among young Scots steadily declining.

"Scotland is also leading the UK in terms of the proportion of young people currently in work, which is testament to the effectiveness of our youth employment strategy, 'Developing the Young Workforce', and our commitment to support Modern Apprentices, providing 30,000 places by 2020."

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