Unemployment in Scotland higher for men

3 weeks ago
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Glasgow

PA Media

The unemployment rate in Scotland is higher for men with almost 5% looking for work from July to September, figures show.

The rate for women is 4.2% while the overall rate in Scotland remains steady at 4.5%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Employment rose slightly to 74% over the quarter.

The Scottish government said the figures still did not reflect the full impact of Covid-19 on employment.

HMRC estimates show that the number of people on payrolls in Scotland is down by more than 3% on October last year.

The ONS survey data is from the period when businesses were allowed to reopen following the UK lockdown.

The UK-wide rate

went up from 4.5% over the quarter and now stands at 4.8%.

The number of people in work across the UK fell by 247,000, the largest annual decrease in more than a decade, the ONS said.

Furlough extension

In Scotland, 126,000 people were looking for work over the three months.

Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said estimates showed there were 2.3 million payrolled employees in Scotland, a fall of 3.1% compared with October 2019.

“I welcome the chancellor’s positive but long overdue announcement last week that he will extend the Job Retention Scheme until March 2021,” Mr Hepburn said.

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

“However, I am aware that some businesses will have already taken the difficult decision to make people redundant because of the unnecessary confusion caused by the UK government and the expectation that the furlough scheme would be withdrawn.”

Unemployment rates higher in men in Scotland. .  Estimates for Labour Force Survey.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the UK-wide figures underlined the challenge faced by the country.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The Federation of Small Businesses said the Scottish jobs figures disguised the trouble that many firms were in.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chairman, said: “While many small businesses will have moved heaven and earth to keep their staff on, unless we stabilise trading conditions then we risk a wave of job losses in the future.

“Anecdotally, many Scottish businesses don’t realise that the extended furlough scheme is open to them at the moment, even if they don’t face stringent restrictions.

“We need to raise awareness that Scottish businesses facing the indirect impact of current coronavirus restrictions – such as tourism firms in rural areas or city centre operators dependent on office workers – can use the scheme. That way we’ll save many more jobs.”

‘Where am I going to go from here?’

Billy McCondochie

Head chef Billy McCondochie and his junior colleague Brandon Wight both found themselves out of work in August after spending months on furlough.

They worked together in a restaurant in Edinburgh’s Rose Street. They are now among more than 20,000 more people claiming Universal Credit in the city than in March.

Billy, 43, has moved from private rented accommodation to a temporary hostel and has had no luck finding kitchen work. Instead, he finds himself taking cleaning jobs.

He told BBC Scotland’s The Nine programme: “It’s not like I’m workshy. Being a chef in Edinburgh was like one long party. Maybe I should’ve saved money but I didn’t think a pandemic was going to come.

“I’ve had dark nights. Where am I going to go from here? Are we ever going to get back to normal?”

‘I’ll take any job that’s offered, I’m not too fussy’

Brandon Wright

Commis chef Brandon, 18, has worked in kitchens since leaving school two years ago.

He said: “I’ve been applying for anything really – retail, hospitality, cafes, bars and restaurants. I’ve not had much luck but I’m still looking.

“I’m really going to take any job that’s offered, as I’m not too fussy at the moment. But I would like to get back into the kitchen as soon as possible.”

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BBC News – Scotland

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