Page last updated at 14:27 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Jobless total rises past 200,000

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The unemployment rate in Scotland now sits at 7.4%

The number of people unemployed in Scotland rose by 9,000 in the three months from September to November.

The unemployment rate now stands at 7.4%, with 202,000 people out of work - an increase of 61,000 over the year.

In the UK as a whole, the jobless total fell by 7,000 to 2.46 million, with the unemployment rate at 7.8%.

Latest figures also showed that the Scottish economy shrank by 0.2% between July and September after a fall of 0.5% during the previous quarter.

This was in line with the rest of the UK.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy said the figures showed there was no room for complacency.

douglas fraser
Douglas Fraser
BBC Scotland business editor

The number of Scots looking for work fell slightly in last month's figures, and rose again with today's, while the rise in claimant numbers slowed.

Taken alongside a fall in UK unemployment, there is a pattern becoming clearer of unemployment reaching a plateau, and doing so much earlier and at a lower point than many feared.

This may be down to flexibility, with employees accepting pay freezes or cuts, shortened hours and worsened conditions. It may be bosses holding on to valued staff as long as they can, though some are burning through their order books and have weaker prospects for the year ahead.

The figures don't measure under-employment, with roughly 100,000 more British part-time jobs this year than last. And many have withdrawn from the search for work - notably students, which means increasing financial hardship for many of them.

Then there's the public sector, which has kept creating jobs. That may have slowed, and will surely reverse, as spending cuts begin to bite.

He said: "There are some encouraging signs given the severity of what Scotland has been through, but we all have to stay 100% focussed on jobs.

"After previous recessions the jobs market has taken longer to bounce back than the economy, and we know that we are still in very uncertain times.

"After the recession of the 1980s, it took 19 years for the jobs situation to recover."

The number of people who claimed Jobseeker's Allowance in December in Scotland also rose to 136,200 - 600 more than the previous month and 36,700 higher than the same time in the previous year.

Scottish Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said the rise in unemployment was "disappointing".

However, he said it was the 31st month in a row that Scotland's position on employment rates, economic activity and unemployment rates had been better than the UK as a whole.

"Today's figures emphasise how critical it is that we support this fragile recovery through initiatives such as a further acceleration of capital spending," he added.

"The rise in unemployment shows that recovery from recession continues to be a fragile process that leaves no scope for even the slightest complacency."

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