Scottish unemployment total now stands at 8.6 per cent at 231,000
Scotland's unemployment rate now stands at 8.6 per cent at a total of 231,000, slightly higher than the UK average of 8.4 per cent which is its highest figure since 1996.
The UK unemployment rate rose by 118,000 in the same three months to the end of November 2011, with official UK unemployment now standing at 2.685 million, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show.
In December last year the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in Scotland (JSA) was 140,900 - a fall of 1,400 over the month and the fourth consecutive monthly decrease.
However, the overall figure for claimants in Scotland is up 3,100 on the same period last year.
The UK figure for people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance,including 1,200 new claimants added in December, now stands at 1.6 million.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "These new figures show that there is a need for further sustained activity to support Scotland's economic recovery - that is why the Scottish Government is using every lever currently available to us to secure new investment and create and safeguard jobs, including our new initiative this week to establish four Enterprise Areas for Scotland.
"The Scottish Government is also reiterating our call to the Chancellor for an urgent jobs summit - comprised of the four finance ministers of the Westminster Government and the devolved administrations - to agree a programme of immediate employment creation, with a focus on increased infrastructure investment."
Andy Willox of the Federation of Small Businesses said: "It would be all too easy for us all to become desensitised to yet another batch of grim unemployment statistics. We can't let that happen. They represent squeezed households,communities under pressure and difficult periods
in individuals' lives.
"Further, every person out of work is also someone spending less on Scottish small businesses' goods and services -putting further pressure on local economies and risking a spiral of decline."
Grahame Smith, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), said: "The recent rise in Scottish unemployment is as dramatic as it is shocking.
"As late as November last year Fraser of Allander were forecasting unemployment of 234,000 by the end of 2012; we are nearly there already."
The STUC said its own research led it to believe there are some 502,655 people who are under-employed or are out of work and want a full time job.