A new study has shown that unemployment in Scotland is likely to move ahead of the national average later in 2012 and reach the highest level in nearly two decades.
The figures have been released by The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), where the report said:
“The unemployment rate in the country is forecast to rise to above that of the UK average in 2012 and remain there until at least 2016, reaching 9.7% that year. The last time that the rate surpassed this was in 1993.”
The study showed that unemployment is likely to increase throughout the whole of the UK in the next five years, but that the public sector would be worst hit.
This is the crux of the matter for Scotland. Factoring in that more than 20% of workers are employed in the public sector, the country is likely to be the worst hit by continued cuts.
This would reverse significantly the present direction of employment. Only last month, latest figures revealed that Scottish unemployment fell to 219,000, a drop of 12,000 over the three months to February.
This puts the unemployment at 8.1%, against a national average of 8.3%.
Referencing these figures in his response to the report, John Swinney, the Scottish Finance Secretary, said:
“The fact is that the Scottish economy outperformed the UK as a whole in terms of GDP growth over the last two quarters of 2011 combined – and we have a higher employment rate, lower unemployment and lower economic inactivity in Scotland compared to the position south of the border.”