Furlough scheme averts Scots jobs pandemic impact

The number of people in employment in Scotland increased slightly between July and September, according to the latest statistics.

Scotland’s business minister Jamie Hepburn said the job retention scheme had played an “important role” in protecting Scots jobs.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the employment rate among those aged aged 16 to 64 was 74 per cent (2.54 million), a 0.4 per cent increase on the previous quarter.

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The unemployment rate among those aged 16 and over remained the same at 4.5 per cent (126,000).

Scots jobs figures have avoided worst impact of pandemic
Scots jobs figures have avoided worst impact of pandemic

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Meanwhile, early estimates using data from ONS and HMRC showed there were 2.32 million employees on payrolls in Scotland in October, a 3.1 per cent fall on the same month last year.

Mr Hepburn said: "For July to September 2020, Scotland's employment rate estimate rose over the quarter to 74 per cent and the unemployment rate estimate was unchanged over the quarter at 4.5 per cent.

"Separate HMRC early estimates for October 2020 show there were 2.3 million payrolled employees in Scotland, decreasing by 3.1 per cent compared with October 2019.

"These figures still do not reflect the full impact of coronavirus on employment as the job retention scheme has played an important role in supporting employers and employees.

"I welcome the Chancellor's positive, but long overdue announcement last week that he will extend the job retention scheme until March 2021.

"We repeatedly urged the UK Government to safeguard jobs by guaranteeing that this support would be available for as long as employers need it.

"This continues to be a hugely worrying time for people and the Scottish Government is doing everything it can to support them through this crisis."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Today's figures underline the scale of the challenge we're facing.

"I know that this is a tough time for those who have sadly already lost their jobs and I want to reassure anyone that is worried about the coming winter months that we will continue to support those affected and protect the lives and livelihoods of people across this country.

"That's why we've extended the furlough scheme until March to protect millions of jobs across the UK and support people to continue to provide for their families.”

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