Written by Erikka Askeland -
People claiming benefits in the north-east rose more than 50% in the last quarter although growth in the number of job seekers has “levelled” since the start of the oil price crash.
The rise brings Aberdeen city and shire in line with the rest of Scotland in terms of claimant count after the jobs market in the region had been “distorted” by the booming oil and gas industry in prior years, a spokeswoman for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said.
New figures show that there are 3,465 people in Aberdeen city claiming unemployment benefits, up 50% on the same time last year.
In Aberdeenshire, the claimant count is 2,350 up 54% from last year.
Roz Clunie, customer service operations manager Aberdeen City/Aberdeenshirel for DWP said: “We have been seeing the effect (of the downturn) on jobs in the past year or more.
“If anything it has levelled.
“If we go back about six months, year on year these increases were bigger, up to 90%.
“Yes it is still up but it is not as up quite so dramatically.
“We compare still quite well and we are not in the worst position. It is about the same – all this has really has done is brought the Aberdeen level down to a similar level to everywhere else in Scotland.
“It is still good by comparison to a lot of other places. We can lose sight of that sometimes particularly when we compare to what was happening when it was so good 18 months or two years ago – it was distorted somewhat.”
Overall, unemployment in Scotland has fallen by 14,000 in three months, official figures show.
Data for July to September reveals that 129,000 people were out of work during that period.
The unemployment rate now stands at 4.7%, just below the rate of 4.8% recorded for the UK as a whole.
But while unemployment fell, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that employment also dropped by 25,000 over the same spell.
The number of those in work in Scotland stands at 2,604,000.
The Scottish Government said there are now 40,000 more people in employment than at the pre-recession peak in 2008.
But the UK Government said the employment rate, now “lagging behind” the UK, should be a concern to Scottish ministers.
ONS data shows that employment fell by 25,000 over the quarter to a rate of 73.6%, below the UK average of 74.5%.