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February 26, 2009    

Scotland set to lose thousands of jobs as it braces for recession

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by Kay Murchie

Economists at Strathclyde University believe Scotland could be hit hard by the recession with 159,000 jobs expected to go over the 2008 to 2011 period.

The alarming survey, conducted by the Fraser of Allander Institute, said the downturn could be worse than the recession in the 1980s and is predicting that Scottish net output could fall by 2.57% this year, 1.2% in 2010 and will only grow by 0.52% the year after.

The report said there is now “almost complete certainty” that the country is currently in recession.

The institute said in the worst case scenario would be for around 193,000 jobs to be lost over the three-year period, which would take the unemployment rate to 8.5%.

The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said unemployment in Scotland had increased by 8,000 over the 12 months, putting the number of people out of work at 137,000.

However, Scotland is expected to fare better than the rest of the UK.

In related news, the ONS confirmed that the UK economy contracted by 1.5% in the October to December period - unrevised from an earlier estimate issued last month.

However, the official figures did reveal a 0.7% contraction in the third quarter of 2008 - slightly worse than the previous estimate of 0.6%.

Consequently, it means fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product for the year was 1.9% lower than a year previously, against the original estimate of 1.8%.

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