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Shock as unemployment rises at fastest pace in five years

22 February, 2018, 00:50 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • Shock as unemployment rises at fastest pace in five years

The rate was slightly above the 4.4% recorded for the United Kingdom as a whole.

Unemployment: Scottish minister says figures are "disappointing" (file pic).

ONS statistician Matt Hughes said: "While this is the sharpest increase in the unemployment level ONS has seen in nearly five years, the number of people in work has continued to rise and there are fewer economically inactive people".

The unemployment rate in Scotland is now higher than it is for the United Kingdom as a whole, the latest statistics reveal.

However, the Office for National Statistics added that despite the increase in the jobless rate, the total number of those in work increased by 88,000 and that there was a 109,000 fall in the number of people classed as economically inactive.

In the same period the number of people in employment in Scotland fell by 20,000 to stand at 2,632,000.

At the same time, the employment rate rose to 75.2% from 74.6% a year ago.

"It's important to remember these figures simply look at the number of people in work, and aren't a measure of migration".

Despite the headline rise in unemployment, the figures will likely give support to the Bank of England's desire to raise interest rates in May, given the signs of inflationary pressure amid a still strong labour market.

"This is demonstrated by our Budget investments of nearly £2.4bn in enterprise and skills and the most attractive package of non-domestic rates reliefs available anywhere in the United Kingdom, including the Small Business Bonus, worth £720m, and the UK's first nursery relief".

Unemployment rates are calculated by people who are registered looking for work as a proportion of the working age population.

Hepburn added: "It can not be stressed enough that Brexit remains the single biggest threat to our economy".

"Earnings continue to grow more slowly than prices".

Scottish Labour's economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: "These figures once again lay bare the extent of SNP and Tory mismanagement of our economy and their lack of an industrial strategy".

But it's not all bad news.

"We need the Scottish Government to focus on investment in people through education and mental health in order to boost productivity".



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