Jobless rate soars but figures to get worse, says Sturgeon

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

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Scotland’s unemployment rate soared to 113,000 in the first three months of 2020 and is likely to be much worse when the coronavirus lockdown is added to the figures later this year.

Statistics for the period January-March show that unemployment rose to 4.1 per cent from a total figure of just under 100,000 people being out of work, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told a media briefing this lunchtime.

‘It’s important to stress that these figures – since they only extend up to the end of March – do not reflect the full economic impact of the pandemic,’ she explained.

‘They undoubtedly further demonstrate the need to carefully get our economy moving again as quickly as we are able to do that safely. They underline the continuing need for government action to support the economy.’

Essential public health measures to cope with a health emergency had created an economic one, she added.

‘Although the Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has offered some relief to many employers and employees, I am very aware that many people right now will be deeply concerned about the future of their livelihoods,’ said Mrs Sturgeon.

A total of £2.3 billion has so far been allocated to support businesses and protect jobs, she said.

And a further £33 million will now be invested in supporting people back to work, most of which will go to Fair Start Scotland, an employability service, she added.

In terms of coronavirus, Scotland has seen 14,655 positive cases of COVID-19, an increase of 61 on yesterday.

A total of 1,447 people are in hospital with 969 confirmed cases and 478 suspected.

That is an overall increase of 20 on yesterday, but is a fall of 36 in confirmed cases.

A total of 59 people are in intensive care with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, which is down four.

A total of 29 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 were registered over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number in Scotland under that measure to 2,134, said the First Minister.