Scottish unemployment rises to 6.1%

Scotland’s unemployment rate rose by 0.5% to 6.1% — up by 16,000 to 171,000 — in the three months to January 31, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The UK unemployment rate was 5.1%.

However, Labour Market Statistics also show that over the quarter, Scotland’s overall employment rate increased to 74.5% with around 2,631,000 Scots now in employment.

Scotland’s youth employment level increased by 15,000 over the year to reach its highest November to January level since 2009, the Scottish Government said.

“Scottish employment continues to rise and I am very pleased to see that we are outperforming the UK on both employment and inactivity,” said Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

“Youth employment has also been one of our success stories in recent months, and today’s figures are further evidence of strong performance.

“However, we are still seeing evidence of ongoing volatility in Scotland’s labour market despite the positive longer term trends.

“The low price of oil and its wider effects remain one of a number of significant challenges affecting employment opportunities and the latest statistics on unemployment demonstrate that there can be absolutely no let-up in our efforts.

“Our employment figures are excellent and show that our work to support people into jobs continues to bear fruit, but we want everyone to be able to maximise their potential by providing sustainable employment.

“Despite the wider global economic conditions, we remain resilient and will use every power at our disposal to remove unnecessary barriers to the jobs market.

“This will include improved employability services from 2017, which I hope to be able to say more about in the coming days.”

Labour market inactivity in Scotland — those not in work or not actively seeking work — fell by 21,000 over the quarter to 701,000.