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New figures published today show that employment in Scotland rose by 16,000 over the three months from July to September, meaning there are now 2,547,000 Scots in work. However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data also reveals that unemployment in Scotland increased by 1,000, to 199,000, over the same period.

This means the Scottish unemployment rate is 7.2 per cent, below the average of 7.6 per cent for the whole of the UK.

Reacting to the figures, Andy Willox, the Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB) Scottish policy convenor said:

"That there are another 16,000 Scots in work is certainly encouraging.  With business confidence continuing to rise and more firms looking to invest, this is another sign that a sustained recovery could be underway.

"But it is by no means guaranteed. We must stay focussed on creating the conditions which allow small businesses to do what they do best: spot opportunities, serve their communities, contribute revenues and create jobs.

"Of course, it is harder for them to do this when spiralling energy and other costs drive up overheads.  Spending longer and longer trying to comply with gold-plated, confusing or inconsistent regulations doesn't help either.  Thus, while governments can't create jobs, Westminster, Holyrood and local government all have a huge role to play in creating an environment in which business can."

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(image:Tony Austin/FlickrCC)