Scottish unemployment rises by 8,000

Job centre exterior Unemployment rose in Scotland but there was also a rise in employment, according to the latest figures

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Unemployment in Scotland has increased for the first time this year, according to the latest official figures.

The number of jobless rose by 8,000, to 205,000, in the quarter between March and May.

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), contrasted with a fall of 57,000 in UK unemployment. It now stands at 2.51 million.

Employment in Scotland rose by 4,000 and now stands at 2,511,000.

At 7.5%, the Scots unemployment rate is slightly below the UK rate of 7.8%.

The number of people claiming Job Seeker's Allowance fell by 1,600 from May to 133,400 in June. The figure is 9,600 lower than the same period last year.

The rise in Scottish unemployment brings to an end a run of seven consecutive falls.

Meanwhile, official figures showed the Scottish economy grew by 0.4% in the first three months of this year, slightly faster than in the UK as a whole.

'Mixed picture'

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said: "After a period of improving labour market conditions there is a mixed picture this month.

"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 JSA.

"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."

'Outperforming UK'

The Scottish government said the data showed that Scotland was outperforming the UK on employment.

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing 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."

Scottish Labour's finance spokeswoman, Jenny Marra, said the figures continued to show "a mixed economic picture" for Scotland.

She added: "While there is some good news, increasing unemployment and a substantial increase in those relying on part-time work shows just how fragile our economy remains.

"The ongoing contraction to the construction sector shows yet again the damaging impact of the failed economic policies of both the SNP government and the UK government.

Recruitment survey

Meanwhile, a survey carried out by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) has suggested that an increasing number of businesses across Scotland are planning to recruit over the coming year.

The survey, which was supported by Skills Development Scotland, found 38% of private sector employers expected to increase employment over the next 12 months - up from 27% just six months ago.

SCDI said the results demonstrated that many employers were becoming "more bullish" on jobs, despite economic conditions remaining difficult.

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