Commenting on the latest official labour market statistics for Scotland, Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said:
“There is little in today’s statistics to support the growing optimism about Scotland’s immediate economic prospects. Unemployment is now higher than it was in autumn last year and the employment rate remains 4.5% below its pre-recession peak.
“The STUC has consistently argued that recent labour market data provided very little encouragement: unemployment is stagnating at a high level, employment growth is much too slow, underemployment is at a historically high level and the jobs that are being created are generally low paid and insecure.
“As the nascent recovery starts to take root, the key question is whether growth will begin to translate into more and better job opportunities for the people of Scotland. The last thing the still weak economy needs is for the UK Government to use recent growth and labour market data as an excuse to increase the pace of austerity.
“The STUC also notes the surge in Scottish youth unemployment reported in the ONS’s experimental unemployment by age series; a 50% increase on the previous quarter.
“Through the course of this year the Scottish Government has drawn on this series to argue that its efforts to tackle youth unemployment were proving very successful while the STUC consistently argued that more reliable data were telling a very different story. We hope that today’s figures might provoke the Scottish Government to reflect on its approach to the presentation of official labour market statistics”.
Stephen Boyd 0141 337 8100