Jobless Scots on the rise while falling UK-wide

The number of Scots out of work is on the rise, while falling across the rest of the UK, official figures today show.

Jobless Scots are on the rise
Jobless Scots are on the rise

But there are also a growing number of Scots in work as the size of the country's workforce expands.

Unemployment among Scots aged 16 and 64 rose 6,000 to reach 118,000 between March and May. Those in work rose slightly to hit 2.57 million, as more people like students and migrants join the workforce to seek work.

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The jobless rate in Scotland is now 4.4%, compared with 4.2% UK wide. Scotland's employment rate of 75.5% is also 0.2% below the UK level.

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Unemployment down by 6,000 in Scotland

Employment increased by 137,000 in the quarter to May to 32.4 million across the country, the highest figure since records began in 1971, giving a record rate of 75.7%.

Job vacancies increased by 7,000 to 824,000 - the most since records began in 2001.

Average earnings increased by 2.5% in the year to May, compared with 2.4% the previous month.

Matt Hughes, senior ONS statistician, said: "We've had yet another record employment rate, while the number of job vacancies is also a new record.

"From this it's clear that the labour market is still growing strongly. meanwhile, real earnings remain modestly up on the year, both including and exclusing bonuses."

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, those on long-term sick leave, early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 86,000 to 8.6 million, giving a rate of 21%, a record low. In Scotlnad this figure is also down by 23,000 to 718,000.

The claimant count, which includes people on Jobseeker's Allowance and the unemployment element of Universal Credit increased by 7,800 last month to 898,700, around 97,000 more than a year ago.

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The Scottish Government’s Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills Jamie Hepburn said the rising number of Scots in work shows the economy and jobs market “remains strong” despite the challenges of Brexit.

He said: “Our employment rate has increased over the quarter and the year to 75.5% with 2,646,000 people now in work in Scotland – 82,000 more than the pre-recession peak. Once more, we continue to outperform the UK on employment for young people and women. 56.3% of Scotland’s young people are in employment compared with 53.6% in the UK and 72.1 % of women in Scotland are in employment compared with 71.3% in the UK.

Dr Stuart McIntyre of the Fraser of Allander Institute said the rise in unemployment means the jobless rate in Scotland has slumped 0.5% over the past year.

But he added: “It is important to remember that unemployment remains, by historical standards, at a low rate.

“Similarly, an employment rate of 75.5% represents a near record level of employment in Scotland.

“Looking in more detail, the data suggest that there has been something of a shift away from self-employment over the past year, with all the employment growth coming from people working as employees.”