UNEMPLOYMENT in Scotland increased by 1,000 to 163,000 in the period from February to April this year with the jobless rate now standing at 5.9 per cent, new figures showed.
However, employment rose by 14,000 during the same three-month period with 2,624,000 Scots now in work – 53,000 more than a year ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The number of people in Scotland classed as economically active went up by 15,000 to 2,788,000 in the category that covers all those involved in the “production of goods and services”.
While the employment rate north of the Border of 74.4 per cent is higher than the figure of 73.4 per cent for the UK as a whole, Scotland’s 5.9 per cent unemployment rate is higher than the 5.5 per cent UK-wide figure.
Across the UK as a whole, the jobless total fell by 43,000 over the period to 1.81 million.
But the number of Scots who are out of work is 19,000 lower than the same quarter last year.
Meanwhile, the number of people in Scotland who are not working and claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell by 1,200 last month to 76,300 – a drop of 23,900 from May 2014.
However, the employment rate for women in Scotland reached a record high, with 72.5 per cent of females now in work, while the youth unemployment rate north of the Border fell to 13.9 per cent, its lowest level for six years.
Scotland’s cabinet secretary for fair work Roseanna Cunningham said the Scottish Government would “continue to use all the levers at our disposal” to help people find work.
She said: “Today’s figures continue to show improvements in youth and women’s employment, pushing us to the forefront of work to help people into jobs across Europe.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the increase in the number of people in work showed the UK government’s economic plan was working despite the rise in unemployment north of the Border.
He said: “Our long-term economic plan gives working people the chance to get on at every stage of their lives and make the most of the jobs and opportunities that are being created across the country.”
However, Grahame Smith, Sottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary, said he had concerns over the “quality and sustainability of the new jobs being created”.
He said: “Today’s statistics are another mixed bag which emphasise again that the recovery in Scotland’s labour market is a slow and uneven process.
“With unemployment, as measured by both level and rate, still significantly higher than before the recession, the key test of the strength of the Scottish labour market over the coming year will be whether people leaving inactivity manage to keep finding jobs.”