Scottish Unemployment Increases By 16,000

Unemployment in Scotland has risen by 16,000 over the latest quarter to 171,000, according to official figures.

There were 17,000 more people who found work over the three months from November last year, taking the employment figure to 2,631,000.

It means the Scottish unemployment rate continues to be above UK levels, with 6.1% out of work compared to 5.1%.

But Scotland's overall employment rate increased to 74.5% - above the UK average of 74.1%.

This month's figures from the Office for National Statistics also show Scotland's youth employment level increased by 15,000 over the year to reach its highest November to January level since 2009.

Labour market inactivity - those not in work or not actively seeking work - fell by 21,000 over the quarter to 701,000 and by 0.6 percentage points over the same period to 20.5%, the lowest jointly-held rate on record.

In February 2016, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker's Allowance was 57,500, down from the figure of 60,700 recorded in January.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "The increase in Scottish employment of 17,000 and a record high in economic activity is welcome news. That means 17,000 more people in jobs, able to improve their quality of life, support their families and contribute to the economy.

"However, these figures are also a reminder of the challenges facing Scotland's economy, in particular in the oil and gas industry. It is vital that Scotland's two governments work together to do everything possible to boost the Scottish economy.''

Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training, said: "Scottish employment continues to rise and I am very pleased to see that we are outperforming the UK on both employment and inactivity.

"Youth employment has also been one of our success stories in recent months, and today's figures are further evidence of strong performance.

"However, we are still seeing evidence of ongoing volatility in Scotland's labour market despite the positive longer term trends.

"The low price of oil and its wider effects remain one of a number of significant challenges affecting employment opportunities and the latest statistics on unemployment demonstrate that there can be absolutely no let-up in our efforts.''

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