SCOTLAND’s unemployment rate has surged above that of the UK as a whole, with the number of people out of work north of the Border increasing from 6,000 to 162,000.
While unemployment across Britain fell by 102,000 between November and January, Scotland saw its jobless total rise during the same period, new figures showed.
This is a worrying set of statistics for ScotlandGrahame Smith of the STUC
Scotland’s unemployment rate stood at 5.9 per cent, which is above the rate of 5.7 per cent for the whole of the UK, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
However, the Scottish employment rate remains higher than the UK’s, at 74 per cent instead of 73.3 per cent, the data showed.
Employment in Scotland rose by 6,000 over the three months November to January, with the number of people in work north of the Border now standing at 2,611,000 – 48,000 more than the total 12 months ago.
Scotland experienced a fall in the number of people who are out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance, with this dropping by 2,000 from January to stand at 79,400 in February – a decrease of 27,700 on the total from February last year.
The gap between male and female employment rates also fell, to a record low of 3.8 percentage points, compared to 9.6 percentage points for the UK, the ONS said.
Meanwhile, the UK-wide jobless total is 1.86 million, the lowest since the summer of 2008 and almost half a million down on a year ago.
The jobless rate is 5.7 per cent, compared to a European Union average of 9.8 per cent.
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said the latest employment figures “round off a remarkable period of success for this government”.
He said: “We now have 174,000 more people in Scotland in work than we did in 2010. The number of women in employment has also increased by 101,000 in that time.”
Scottish fair work secretary Roseanna Cunningham hailed the figures showing rising levels of female employment, saying this shows the “real progress being made in supporting more women into work”.
She said: “Our commitment to workplace equality will mean more role models for future generations, once and for all removing any suggestion that your gender has a bearing on your abilities.”
The SNP minister said the “slight increase” in the overall jobless total for Scotland “can be explained, in part, by falling levels of economic inactivity as more people join the labour market and start looking for work”.
However, Grahame Smith, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, said: “This is a worrying set of statistics for Scotland: unemployment is up and employment is static.”