Private job creation boost as Scottish unemployment rate edges ahead of UK

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
The creation of jobs by Scotland’s private sector has outstripped those of the UK as a whole as the jobless figures north and south of the border increased today.
 
As new figures showed the unemployment rate in Scotland now marginally ahead of the UK figure, 8.5% versus 8.3%, figures for private sector job creation showed Scotland performing better.

By a Newsnet reporter
 
The creation of jobs by Scotland’s private sector has outstripped those of the UK as a whole as the jobless figures north and south of the border increased today.
 
As new figures showed the unemployment rate in Scotland now marginally ahead of the UK figure, 8.5% versus 8.3%, figures for private sector job creation showed Scotland performing better.

The gloom was further tempered by the news that Scotland’s claimant count fell in November for the third consecutive month, by 500, while the UK-wide claimant count figure increased for the ninth consecutive month, by 3,000.

Today’s figures revealed that 30,300 private sector jobs were created in Scotland in the year to the third quarter of 2011, outweighing public sector job losses by 6,800.  By contrast, across the UK as a whole, there were 26,000 more public sector job losses than the 249,000 jobs created in the private sector.

The private sector, including all financial institutions, now accounts for 77.7 per cent of Scottish employment, which is the highest share since devolution.  Scottish employment at 2.486 million is also nearly 200,000 higher than 1999.

Commenting on the publication of labour market statistics, SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP welcomed the rise in private sector employment.  The SNP MP also endorsed calls by First Minister Alex Salmond for a jobs summit involving all four administrations.

Mr Hosie – a member of the Treasury Select Committee – said:

“We face an extraordinarily difficult situation of rising unemployment, and the First Minister is quite right to call for a UK-wide jobs summit – which the UK administration must respond positively to.

“In the face of severe spending cuts from Westminster, the number of new jobs created in the private sector in Scotland is significantly exceeding the number lost in the public sector.  South of the Border, under the Con/Dem coalition, the exact opposite is the case.  In Scotland, we now have the highest share of private sector employment in Scotland since devolution.”

The First Minister responded to today’s figures by calling for the UK coalition to change course.

Mr Salmond said:

“The UK Government’s economic policy is in a state of collapse, and the Prime Minister’s policy of isolation in Europe can only make things worse.  The Office of Budget Responsibility has reported that the UK economy is already contracting in the final quarter of this year, and the coalition must change course.

“That is why the Scottish Government is calling for an urgent jobs summit, comprised of the four finance ministers of the Westminster government and the devolved administrations, to agree a programme of immediate employment creation – a ‘Plan MacB’ – with a focus on increased infrastructure investment.”

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance Richard Baker MSP said:

“The unemployment figures in Scotland have reached disaster levels and are worse than the rest of the UK.  This is now a Scottish national crisis and we need a crisis response.  Behind every statistic is a person suffering the indignity of unemployment and a family coping with losing their income.”

Mr Baker added: “For months, SNP ministers have simply been in denial about bleak forecasts facing the Scottish economy.  The SNP are happy to take credit when things go well, but must take responsibility when they are bad.”