MORE than 120 women a day are joining Scotland’s dole queue as they “pay the price” of a major increase in unemployment, it emerged yesterday.
Of the 13,000 Scots who found themselves out of work between March and May, 11,000 were women, official figures showed.
But the number of people in work in Scotland has reached a record high of 2.587 million, as more people look for a job.
Labour’s deputy finance spokeswoman Jenny Marra said female unemployment is dropping across the rest of the UK and Scotland is “making slower progress”.
She said: “It would seem that the choices being made by the SNP government are disproportionately impacting on women, who are more likely to be working in the public sector or relying on insecure jobs.
“While we welcome the increase in employment, the SNP can’t hide behind population growth and they need to face up to the decisions they are making which result in more women being out of work.”
But a record number of 1.249 million women are now in work in Scotland and the proportion of women in work is also higher north of the Border, with a female employment rate of 69.7 per cent compared to 68.1 per cent across the whole of the UK.
The Scottish Government’s secretary for training, youth and women’s employment, Angela Constance, said: “It is encouraging that female employment continues to increase markedly with a higher employment rate than the rest of the UK.
“Although we continue to do better than the UK in terms of employment rates amongst young people and 90 per cent of school leavers are in positive destinations, our youth unemployment rate remains too high.”
The 13,000 jobless hike means Scotland’s unemployment rate is now higher than that for the UK as a whole, at 6.9 per cent north of the Border compared to 6.5 per cent, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows.
However, the employment rate in Scotland is 73.3 per cent, which is better than the UK rate of 73.1 per cent.
The hike in unemployment has been put down to an increase in the size of the workforce, which has jumped by 25,000 between March and May as more people look for work. This included students in work after graduating, mothers returning to work and a number of immigrants. The number of people in work has also increased by 12,000 to the record level of 2.587 million.
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said: “We have seen positive developments over the year as a whole with 76,000 more Scots in employment and 13,000 fewer in unemployment.
“In June alone, the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell by 4,000 and is now 35,500 lower compared to one year ago.
“Claimant count is now below 100,000 and at its lowest level since December 2008.”
But he warned that the figures underline the need to continue creating the right conditions to get people into jobs.
The Liberal Democrat minister added: “While it is disappointing to see unemployment rise at any time, the number of economically active people in Scotland is rising and the number of Scots claiming unemployment has now fallen for 16 consecutive months.”