Employment levels in Scotland show slight improvement

The Office for National Statistics said the unemployment rate among those aged 16 and over was 4.2%.

Employment levels in Scotland show slight improvement Getty Images

Unemployment levels in Scotland have fallen slightly between August and October despite the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the rate was currently around 4.2% in the latest quarter, down 0.6%.

The employment rate for those aged between 16 to 64 years was 74.8%.

The number of redundancies across the UK rose to a record high of 370,000 in the same period. 

For Laura Mcmillan and Zsofi Schiffer, who lost their jobs at a solicitors firm this year, being made redundant was the push they needed to start their own business.

The friends from Aberdeen decided it was time to turn their love of dogs into a business, creating their dog walking firm ‘Walkie Doodle Doo’.

Laura said: “It was devastating obviously, when you do something like law you think your career is mapped out basically for the rest of your life.

“Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and put your faith in what is going to happen will happen and I think we have made the right decision and our business is going great so far.”

Zsofi added: “This was the perfect opportunity, it wasn’t like I was going to leave my job and take all these risks. 

“I think we were more brave because there was nothing at stake.

“It was a little bit of a worry, we were actually really surprised we started up so quickly.”

The pair have seen their business grow as more people have decided to get a dog during the restrictions.

Laura added: “We are getting one extra dog a week and we have just been growing each week.”

At this time of year there is usually an increase in temporary work as retailers and warehouses bolster their staff for the festive period. 

However, according to Gavin Mochan of S1 Jobs there has been a big increase in the number of temporary jobs being advertised this year. 

He said: “Undoubtedly companies are using a higher proportion of temporary staff this year. 

“Temporary staff, in terms of hiring demand makes up around 10% of overall hiring activity and that is significantly higher than this time last year when it would have roughly been around 7%.”

Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “For August to October 2020, Scotland’s employment rate estimate has risen over the quarter to 74.8% and the unemployment rate estimate has fallen over the quarter to 4.2%.

“These figures still do not reflect the full impact of coronavirus on employment as the Job Retention Scheme has played an important role in supporting employers and employees.

“We are also facing huge economic uncertainty as a result of Brexit and the UK Government’s decision to leave the transition period on December 31 in the middle of a pandemic and a recession.

“However, the Scottish Government continues to support employers – and to help protect jobs – by making grants available to businesses impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We’ve been clear throughout this crisis that protecting lives and livelihoods is our number one priority.

“We’ve provided over £280bn of support, including protecting over nine million jobs with the furlough scheme and supporting millions of businesses to keep going with our loans, grants and tax cuts.

“But we know that, sadly, many people are already facing unemployment.

“That’s why our Plan for Jobs is also helping to create new jobs, including through our £2bn Kickstart scheme and expanded apprenticeships and traineeships, to ensure nobody is left without hope or opportunity.”

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