Scotland's unemployment rate higher than UK-wide total

Unemployment sees biggest increase since 2013, says ONS

Unemployment rises at sharpest rate for nearly five years

The unemployment rate in Scotland is now higher than it is for the United Kingdom as a whole, the latest statistics reveal.

Chris Williamson at IHS Markit said: "The economy grew less than previously thought in the final three months of 2017, and a further slowdown looks likely at the start of 2018".

"This is demonstrated by our Budget investments of nearly £2.4 billion in enterprise and skills and the most attractive package of non-domestic rates reliefs available anywhere in the United Kingdom, including the Small Business Bonus, worth £720 million, and the UK's first nursery relief".

However, the number of people in work also increased, rising by 88,000 in the final three months of 2017.

The ONS attributed a rise in unemployment to fewer economically inactive people - those neither working nor looking for a job.

The figures show the construction industry in recession, stagnating businesses investment, foreign workers fleeing the United Kingdom, and families tightening their belts after being squeezed by rising inflation and weak wage growth.

Despite the revision to GDP, John Hawksworth, PwC chief economist, said: "The big picture has not changed".

"There are mixed messages in the data we've had out this morning", says Liz Martins, senior economist at HSBC.

Discussions over the trading relationship between the government and the EU are due to resume soon, and many businesses, particularly in the finance sector, are hoping that a transition deal will be agreed on shortly whereby Britain will remain in the tariff-free European single market and customs union for a period after Brexit.

"The downward revision to Q4 GDP puts the United Kingdom back at the bottom of the G7 growth leader board for 2017".

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Those improvements in productivity were for most of the last 200 years the motor of economic growth, so regular they could be taken for granted. Business investment during the fourth quarter was flat when compared to the year before, a sign of the impact of Brexit uncertainty.

In the past decade, that engine of improved prosperity broke down.

That was still weaker than the 3.0 percent reading of British consumer price inflation for December and the ONS said wage growth in real terms dropped by an annual 0.3 percent over the fourth quarter. It estimates that over 2017 as a whole GDP per capita growth was just 1.1 per cent.

The number of people in work fell for the first time since August 2016.

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