The Scottish jobs market is steadily improving, according to a
Scottish jobs market seeing ‘steady’ improvement, says BoS report
by Laura Latre
The Scottish employment figures have experienced a “steady increase” according to The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer which reported a 24th consecutive month of improvement.
The report shows a strong rise in the number of permanent and temporary jobs in October, taken from a survey of 100 recruitment firms and consultants.
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The Barometer is an indicator designed to provide a single figure snapshot of labour market conditions and it reached its highest point in five months during October.
Permanent places rose, reflecting greater demand from recruitment firms. Edinburgh-based recruiters reported the strongest increase in permanent staff placements. Thus, placement rates were higher in Scotland than the UK average. In spite of the economic slowdown over the summer and the ongoing ramifications of the 2008/2009 financial crash, the survey also published a slight increase in average salaries.
However, last week’s figures presented a rise in unemployment and an increase in the number of people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance to 140,700 in October, rising by 100 from September.
Chief economist Donald MacRae said: "Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) last week revealed Scotland's employment rate for the quarter was still ahead of the UK average at 8.1 per cent compared with a UK-wide average of 7.8 per cent”.
Unemployment in Scotland has risen for the third time in a row, but the Scottish Government is doing “everything it can to stimulate the economy and create the conditions for growth”, according to Mr MacRae.
“We have set out in Scotland's draft budget further investment in construction, skills and the green economy, and we are helping small and medium sized businesses create up to 10,000 opportunities through a national employer recruitment initiative", he added.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded a rise of 4,000, bringing the total for the period between July and September to 218,000. Unemployment rates, however, are falling across the rest of the UK.
Unique factors affecting the labour market such as the number of summer students jobs during the summer and the jobs created through Olympics and Paralympics games should also be considered.
Scotland Office minister David Mundell said: "The fact the Scottish unemployment rate is also higher than the rest of the country shows why Scotland's two governments need to work together for the benefit of Scotland."
In addition, the Scottish Chamber of Commerce said the Scottish and UK governments "must share responsibility for the continually disappointing unemployment figures" in Scotland.
Chief executive Liz Cameron said: "We have been calling on the Scottish government to impose a freeze on business rates for 2013/14, allowing businesses to invest the £163m this would save in their businesses, creating the demand for jobs that is needed to address the continuing growth in unemployment in Scotland."
However, "increasing employment will only come from business growth, so the UK government must both boost capital investment and incentivise business lending, to enable firms across the UK to create more jobs.”
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