Official figures announced on Thursday 15th February showed that Scottish unemployment had risen again, this time by 16,000 over the period of October to December 2011.
The data released by the Office for National Statistics shows the country’s jobless rate as 8.6%, higher than the UK average of 8.4%. It amounts to more than 231,000 people now being out of work.
Speaking about the latest figures, Liz Cameron, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) chief executive, said that the rise in unemployment was indicative of the economic uncertainty and financial pressures which continue to confront Scottish businesses.
She referenced the SCC’s own surveys, which revealed that the final quarter of last year was an:
“exceptionally difficult one for many businesses and a general lack of optimism may hinder employment growth in 2012.”
She went on to urge the UK and Scottish governments to do more to tackle the issues facing companies today, with the private sector needing to succeed to take up the slack from the sweeping public sector job cuts.
An issue which has tried to be tackled in the past is business lending, though even the latest round of qualitative easing is widely expected to prove unsuccessful. However, many companies are seeing much success with alternative strategies such as invoice factoring. This is just one action aimed at helping economic recovery.
It is clear to politicians and commentators alike that a robust and sustained plan is required to boost confidence, and only this can germinate the potential for growth.