Number of Scots unemployed rises despite UK-wide fall

Andrew Cummings
December 13, 2017

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

The unemployment rate fell marginally to 4.3% in the three months to October 2017, the joint lowest unemployment rate since 1975, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The total number of people unemployed in the United Kingdom now stands at nearly 1.43 million after a fall of 26,000.

"Employment stayed close to its record high and while up on a year ago, declined compared with the previous three months", senior ONS statistician Matt Hughes said in a statement accompanying the release.

Nationally, unemployment fell by 26,000 to 1.4 million, which is 182,000 lower than a year ago.

Other figures showed that public sector employment increased by 19,000 in September to 5.4 million, mainly due to an increase in the NHS workforce, which now stands at 1.6 million.

There were 2,653,000 people in work across Scotland, giving the country an employment rate of 74.9% amongst the working age population.

Inflation has soared in 2017 as a Brexit-hit pound ramps up import costs, which led the Bank of England to raise its key interest rate for the first time in a decade earlier last month.

Average weekly earnings rose by 2.5% year-on-year, in line with the figure analysts expected, while the previous month's 2.2% gain was revised up to 2.3%.

Guy Foster, Brewin Dolphin's head of research, said: "Unemployment was flat but wage growth picked up which was good news for consumers following yesterday's slightly higher inflation numbers and weaker house price growth".

Matthew Percival, from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: "Pay growth is picking up a little, but rising inflation means that many people won't feel the benefit yet". With more people from the European Union leaving the country and fewer arriving to work, it's getting harder for employers to secure the number of people they need to fill roles.

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