Unemployment rises in Scotland as lockdown impact felt

Data shows the number of unemployed people in Scotland has risen to 4.3%.

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Unemployment in Scotland rose between March and May as the impact of lockdown was felt.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the unemployment rate for people aged over 16 rose to 4.3% (120,000), a 0.6% increase on the previous quarter.

This was higher than the UK unemployment rate of 3.9%.

The number of people aged 16 to 64 in employment fell to 74.1% (2.642 million), a 1.2% drop on the previous quarter.

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “For the period March to May 2020, Scotland’s employment rate estimate fell over the quarter to 74.1% and the unemployment rate estimate rose over the quarter to 4.3%.

“These statistics cover around two months of lockdown measures before businesses started to open again, but do not reflect the full picture of our labour market as the Job Retention Scheme will have offered some relief to many employers and employees.

“We want to provide long-term certainty for those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, by continuing to keep companies in business and people in jobs, and have provided a package of support to businesses that totals over £2.3bn. This includes the £185m additional support fund for businesses otherwise unable to access support.

“The Job Retention Scheme will end in October but we believe the UK Government must extend the scheme, particularly for sectors that have been most affected by Covid-19, for example travel and tourism and hospitality, given that most of these sectors will not have fully recovered by October.”

She said the Scottish Government has committed a further £100m for “employability and training support” to help anyone who has lost their job or is at risk of losing their job, as well as those looking for work.