Scots unemployment rate rises to 4.6% as Scottish government repeats calls for Furlough extension


Unemployment in Scotland increased to 4.6% (128,000) between May and July and remains higher than in the rest of the UK where unemployment increased by 0.2% to 4.1% according to the Office of National Statistics.  A much larger rise in job losses was prevented by the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme (furlough) and the Scottish government has repeated calls on the UK government to extend it otherwise Nicola Sturgeon fears it will lead to a “tsunami of redundancies”.

Jamie Hepburn, the Scottish government’s Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, said, “These figures only partially show how the lockdown measures needed to suppress coronavirus (Covid-19) have affected our economy and labour market – they still do not reflect the full impact on employment as the Job Retention Scheme will have offered some relief to many employers and employees.

“We continue to call on the UK Government to also play its part and extend the Job Retention Scheme, particularly for sectors such as travel, tourism and hospitality that face significant long-term challenges, likely to remain when the scheme ends next month.”

Matthew Percival, CBI Director of People and Skills, said“The easing of lockdown restrictions and a more flexible Job Retention Scheme in July have led to the beginning of a recovery in vacancies and hours worked. But rising redundancies, rising unemployment and a record fall in the number of young people in work are clear warning signs of what is to come.

“Looking ahead, a successor to the Job Retention Scheme is needed to protect jobs and businesses.”

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said, “Some effects of the pandemic on the labour market were beginning to unwind in July as parts of the economy reopened.

“Fewer workers were away on furlough and average hours rose. The number of job vacancies continued to recover into August, too. Nonetheless, with the number of employees on the payroll down again in August and both unemployment and redundancies sharply up in July, it is clear that coronavirus is still having a big impact on the world of work.”