Scotland outperforms UK in jobs growth for six months running

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By Russell Bruce

Following on from the Labour Market Statistics last week, which covered the three months from June to August, the Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs for September shows Scotland continuing to outperform the UK as a whole.

Demand for permanent staff grew strongly in September and the number of temp vacancies increased at the fastest pace since December 2010.

Seven of the eight industry sectors monitored showed growth in permanent positions and posted a larger number of job vacancies. The biggest increase was in IT and Computing which has been recruiting steadily over many months.

All eight monitored employment sectors registered growth of demand for temp staff in September. The Engineering & Construction category recorded the fastest increase in vacancies.

Month                    Scotland            UK

April                        56.6                   56.0

May                         56.5                   53.9

June                        55.2                   51.9

July                         55.0                   51.7

August                    53.9                   50.9

September                53.3                   50.6

The rate of growth has been slowing in recent months in both Scotland and the UK as a whole so although Scottish growth is substantially stronger the slowing growth rate indicates that Westminster’s austerity programme may be leading to further weakening over coming months.

Donald MacRae, Chief Economist at Bank of Scotland, commented: “These data show a welcome further improvement in the Scottish labour market in September with Scotland outperforming the UK for the sixth successive month. However, the rate of improvement has slowed to its weakest for eight months. Given the slowdown in the developed and European economies it may be challenging to maintain both the improving trend and the difference with the UK into 2012.”

The Bank of England’s latest quantitative easing programme (QE2) looks to have been introduced too late to work through and stimulate economic growth for the UK as a whole before jobs growth turns negative.

Scotland may have a bit more time on its side but George Osborne really does need to take decisive action to get the UK economy moving.  Opponents say it is better to invest a bit more in growth than have to borrow more to pay for rising unemployment costs and the social problems that lie in its wake.

SUPPLEMENTARY NOTE

The article should have contained the usual explanation on the figures. 50 would represent no change from the previous month. A figure above 50 represents the improvement on the previous month and a figure below 50 a decline. Apologies for the omission.