Unemployment increases in Scotland as UK figure falls

13 December 2017, 12:25

unemployment up in the UK

Unemployment in Scotland has increased by more than 7%, with new figures showing 114,000 people on the dole queue.

While the jobless total across the UK fell over the period August to October, official figures showed a rise of 8,000 north of the border.

At the same time the number of Scots who were in work dropped by 21,000, accounting for almost two fifths of the 56,000 decrease in employment experienced across the UK.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed 2,653,000 people in work across Scotland in the period August to October.

While that is down on the previous quarter, the employment total is 59,000 higher than 12 months ago, and unemployment has fallen by 32,000 over the year.

While the number of people without a job in Scotland increased, the figures showed more women are now working.

Female unemployment fell from 47,000 to 39,000 over the period August to September - a drop of 15.8%.

In contrast the number of men without a job went from 59,000 to 74,000 - a rise of 25.5% - according to the data.

The figures were released just over 24 hours before the Scottish Government publishes it Budget plans for 2018-19.

The unemployment rate in Scotland rose slightly to 4.1% in August to October.

At the same time the figures showed 74.9% of people aged 16 to 64 were in work - down from 75.8% in the previous quarter.

Amongst those aged 16 to 64, there were 110,000 out of work while 2,555,000 were in employment - with unemployment in this age group up by 8,000 over the quarter while the number with a job fell by 32,000.

Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokeswoman Councillor Carolyn Caddick said the latest jobless figures "will horrify people".

She added: "Scottish jobs are down and unemployment is up. The Scottish economy is erratic and unsteady.

"Both governments needs to think big for the long term. There have been massive downgrades to the economy forecast by the Office of Budget Responsibility and other commentators.

"Investment in education to build a high wage and high skill economy is an absolute essential. That's why Liberal Democrats are pushing this so hard."

Minster for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: "While these latest figures show that employment is up by 1.7 percentage points over the year, it is disappointing to see a slight fall in employment and a slight rise in unemployment over the last quarter."

He stressed Scotland's unemployment rate was lower than that for the UK, with 89,000 more people in work than there were at the pre-recession peak.

Mr Hepburn added: "The most recent Markit Report on Jobs for Scotland also indicate that in November Scotland experienced the highest rate of growth in permanent job appointments since October 2014, outperforming the UK as a whole.

"We're working to make sure newly devolved powers are being used to support those who need it most.

"Statistics published this month show in the first six months 3,459 people joined our transitional employability services which support individuals with disabilities and health conditions - a strong start which shows how we're delivering a fairer and more targeted employment support service.

"The real risk to Scotland's economy comes from a hard Brexit. We are continuing to press for a less damaging approach to Brexit, which keeps the UK in the single market and customs union."