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Unemployment falls

Shetland and Orkney have experienced the highest falls in unemployment in the past month and the past year, joining Aberdeenshire with the lowest unemployment in Scotland.

Shetland has 160 people out of work, or 1.1 per cent of the working age population, a fall of 34 (17.5%).

The last year has seen unemployment in Shetland fall 27.3 per cent, the largest decrease after Orkney with 31.5 per cent. Third is the western isles with a fall of 19.8 per cent.

In 2012 Shetland had the 11th highest average level of pay in Scotland at £23,320 a year, but still below the Scottish average of £25,142.

The figures come from Mackay Consultants’ monthly economic report for June, which also highlighted the vigour of the offshore oil industry with three new developments off the islands. Statoil have applied to the UK government to develop the Bressay oil field 80 miles south east of Shetland. The field is thought to have 300 million barrels of recoverable oil, which could flow by 2018 after a £5 billion investment.

Xcite Energy Resources have applied to develop the Bentley oil field 85 miles south east of Shetland, which was discovered in 1977, but is only now accessible through modern technology. It will cost £4.5 billion to recover its 250 million barrels of oil.

Chevron have awarded contracts worth £550 million to Technip, Aker Solutions and OneSubsea UK to work on the Alder and Rosebank developments 100 miles north of Shetland. The entire development will cost £4.5 billion.

Meanwhile North Sea oil production fell by almost 30 per cent in March 2013 compared to the previous year, while crude oil prices rose by 2.1 per cent between May and June to $103.23.