Unemployment Rises In Scotland

Unemployment in Scotland has risen with new figures showing there are now 205,000 people out of work.

The jobless total, which had fallen for the last seven months, increased by 8,000 over the period March to May. 

Across the UK as a whole unemployment fell by 57,000 to stand at 2.51 million, official figures revealed. 

Despite that, the Scottish unemployment rate was still below that for the UK, at 7.5% compared to 7.8% The unemployment total - which includes those who are out of work and not eligible for benefits - is also 10,000 less than it was for the same period last year. 

The number of people who are out of work and claiming jobseeker's allowance fell by 1,600 from May to 133,400 in June - with this total 9,600 less than it was 12 months ago. 

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, also showed an increase in the number of Scots in work. 

There were 2,511,000 people in employment over the period March to May - 4,000 more than in the previous quarter and 20,000 higher than the same time last year.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said the figures showed a ``mixed picture'', with both employment and unemployment rising. 

``After a period of improving labour market conditions, there is a mixed picture this month,'' he said. 

``The news that unemployment in Scotland has increased slightly over the last quarter is disappointing. 

``It is better news that there is an increase in employment and a fall in the number of people claiming job seeker's allowance. 

``This emphasises the importance of Scotland's two governments putting all their efforts towards creating opportunities and getting people back into long-term sustainable employment.'' 

But he stressed there were ``encouraging signs'' for the country with ``9,600 fewer people claiming benefits than last year, 75,000 more people are in employment since May 2010 and private-sector employment increasing by over 145,000 over the same period''. 

Mr Moore said: ``Against a backdrop of increasing business and consumer confidence, getting people back into work by building a strong stable economy is the key priority for this government.'' 

Scottish enterprise minister Fergus Ewing highlighted Scotland's lower unemployment rate than the UK, and said the number of people on jobseeker's allowance was now at the lowest level for almost four years.

 ``On employment figures, Scotland is outperforming the UK,'' he said. 

``The Scottish Government is keen that the whole UK does well but it is gratifying to see that the variety of policies that we have been pursuing are meaning we are starting to see our performance exceed that of other parts of the UK.'' 

``Not only is the unemployment rate lower than this time last year, but the number of people claiming job seeker's allowance has fallen to its lowest level since September 2009. 

``Our youth employment rate is also surpassing that of the UK, with the number of young people in work continuing to rise.'' 

Mr Ewing added: ``We can build on these figures but we cannot allow Westminster's continued pursuit of austerity over economic recovery to derail the positive developments we are seeing in Scotland.''