Unemployment in Scotland rises amid coronavirus pandemic

Employment in Scotland rose slightly between June and August, new official figures show.

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 8:30 am

Between June and August, employment in Scotland rose 0.4% compared with March to May of this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The unemployment rate remained the same, at 4.5%.

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ONS data shows that the majority of Scottish workers were employed in services (83%), with 9.4% employed in production and 7.4% in other sectors.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of employees on payrolls dropped by 673,000 between March and September. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of employees on payrolls dropped by 673,000 between March and September. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

However, government ministers warned that these figures do not reflect the full impact that Covid-19 has had on the employment sector, due to the Job Retention Scheme.

Jamie Hepburn, minister for business, fair work and skills, said: “For the period June to August 2020, Scotland’s employment rate estimate rose over the quarter to 73.9% and the unemployment rate estimate stayed the same over the quarter at 4.5%.

“HMRC early estimates for September 2020 for Scotland, published for the first time this morning, show that there were 2,329,000 payrolled employees, decreasing by 2.7% compared with September 2019.

“These figures still do not reflect the full impact of coronavirus on employment as the Job Retention Scheme will have offered relief to many employers and employees.

“I know this is a very worrying time for many people, particularly those working in sectors most affected by the pandemic.

“Last week the Scottish Government launched the £25 million National Transition Training Fund to help up to 10,000 people aged 25 and over, who have lost their jobs or are at risk of redundancy as a result of the virus, to develop the skills required to move into sectors with the greatest potential for future growth and job opportunities.

“To give young people the chance to succeed, we will ensure everyone aged between 16 and 24 has the opportunity of work, education or training through Scotland’s Young Person’s Guarantee.

“We have also launched a £40 million fund to help businesses affected by temporary restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, which will help to protect jobs over the coming fortnight.

“We are doing everything we can with the limited powers available to us to support people through this crisis – but it is essential that the UK Government also plays its part.

“We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to extend the furlough scheme, and stop avoidable job losses. It is clear that the new Job Support Scheme is far less generous than the furlough scheme and does not go far enough.”

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of employees on payrolls across the UK dropped by 673,000 between March and September.

It added that UK unemployment rose by 138,000 quarter on quarter to 1.52 million in the three months to August.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: “The latest monthly tax numbers show that the number of employees on the payroll was little changed in September.

“However, in total there were still nearly 700,000 fewer than in March, before the lockdown.”

He added: “Since the start of the pandemic there has been a sharp increase in those out of work and job-hunting but more people telling us they are not actively looking for work.

“There has also been a stark rise in the number of people who have recently been made redundant.”

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