Commenting on the latest labour market and GDP statistics for Scotland released today, Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said:
“Today’s labour market statistics for Scotland are the most positive for some months with the fall in unemployment supplemented by a rise in employment which is on the face of it very impressive.
“However a couple of caveats must be applied: again it was almost exclusively men who benefitted from the fall in unemployment as women continue to struggle badly in the current labour market. The latest statistics also suggest that the quality of jobs being created remains poor: employee and full-time employment continues to fall as temporary and self-employment rises. Very long-term unemployment also increased again across all age groups.
“Compared to the UK, there is little doubt that Scottish GDP performance in Q4 2012 was impressive. That said, output and exports remain well below pre-recession levels and the dip in manufacturing output over the last quarter confirms there is little sign of rebalancing.
“Today’s better news is unlikely to be sustained unless the UK Government adopts a new economic policy as it was encouraged to do yesterday by the IMF. Unemployment rose across the UK as a whole and real wages continue to lag well behind inflation. With the majority of the cuts still to be implemented there is no sound reason to regard today’s statistics as the start of a robust recovery”.