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Unemployment across Scotland rises by 16,000 to 171,000

The latest labour statistics show unemployment is higher in Scotland than the UK.

By STV News

Published 16 Mar 2016.

Unemployment in Scotland has risen by 16,000 and stood at 171,000 as of January 2016, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

The Scottish unemployment rate is 6.1%, which is above the rate of 5.1% for the whole of the UK.

However, the Scottish employment rate increased over the quarter at 74.5%, above the UK average of 74.1%.

The labour market statistics also show employment in Scotland increased by 17,000 between November 2015 and January 2016.

The number of those in employment in Scotland now stands at 2,631,000.

Economic activity increased by 32,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,803,000, a record high.

The economic activity rate increased over the year to stand at 79.5%.

Secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell, said: "The increase in Scottish employment of 17,000 and a record high in economic activity is welcome news. That means 17,000 more people in jobs, able to improve their quality of life, support their families and contribute to the economy.

"However, these figures are also a reminder of the challenges facing Scotland’s economy, in particular in the oil and gas industry. It is vital that Scotland’s two governments work together to do everything possible to boost the Scottish economy.

"Earlier this year we announced a significant package of support for the oil and gas industry and the wider north east economy, this is an excellent example of what can be achieved.

"The chancellor will be setting out later today how the UK Government will continue to support economic growth right across the country."

Chancellor George Osborne will unveil his eighth UK budget on Wednesday.

Cabinet secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training, Roseanna Cunningham, said: "Scottish employment continues to rise and I am very pleased to see that we are outperforming the UK on both employment and inactivity.

"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."

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