Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 18:03 UK

Scottish unemployment up 34,000

Unemployment benefit claimants went up by 3,600 in one month

The number of people unemployed in Scotland rose by 34,000 in the past twelve months to 157,000.

The Office for National Statistics figures for April showed the jobless rate rose from 5.4% to 5.9%.

The figures also showed that unemployment benefit claimants went up by 3,600 in one month to 122,300.

Secretary of State for Scotland, Jim Murphy, said the figures showed the difficult reality of the economic downturn.

"Behind every statistic there is a real family," he said.

"We are doing everything we can to get people through the downturn as quickly and effectively as possible.

"Today's figures show the difficult reality of these testing times", he added.

"They show Scotland is suffering from similar unemployment problems as most other economies around the world."

'Practical support'

Scottish Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said: "No-one can doubt the seriousness of rising unemployment and the challenge this global recession presents to our economy."

But he said Scotland had a higher employment rate, higher economic activity rate, and lower unemployment rate than the UK average.

"We are continuing to focus our efforts on providing real and practical support for families and businesses," Mr Mather said.

"We are also working to stimulate job creation, promoting Scotland as an attractive location for investment."

CBI Scotland assistant director David Lonsdale called for more help for firms from the public sector.

"The devolved government's target to settle all supplier invoices within 10 days of receipt is good but this needs to be replicated right across the public sector as the record to date is decidedly patchy," he said.

"Similarly, we need to see the speedy implementation of the proposed deferment of this year's bumper 5% rise in business rates, and a firm commitment to introduce transitional rates relief following the upcoming commercial property revaluation."

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