INVERCLYDE tops the table for unemployment in Scotland - with the district the eleventh worst performing area in the UK for people out of work.

New figures reveal that 2,745 men and women are without a job and claiming either Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit (UC).

That amounts to 7.5 per cent of the local population who are able to work, or 'economically active'.

The local unemployment rate is more than double the national average of 3.6 per cent.

MP Ronnie Cowan says it is a regrettable situation but he believes there are green shoots of recovery starting to show.

Mr Cowan said: "The number of people unemployed is a sad state of affairs and my thoughts go out to those who are struggling to find work.

"Recent announcements by Riverside Inverclyde and Ferguson Marine provide hope for employment prospects in the area.

"While the Inverclyde figures highlight an increase in those seeking employment this must be taken with the caveat that the roll out of Universal Credit is currently affecting the claimant count.

"Changes in claimant numbers may be a result of the rollout rather than changes in economic conditions.

"The benefits of employment to individuals and communities should never be underestimated and I am fully aware of the seriousness of the situation.

"It always has been and always will be a priority for my office to work to bring jobs to the constituency."

The unemployment rate has gone up by 11 per cent annually - a difference of 275 people - and there are 595 individuals aged 18 to 24 seeking work - up by 24 per cent.

In the 50 and over age group, there were 635 claimants - up by 6.7 per cent year-on-year.

Martin McCluskey, who has been selected by Labour to contest the Inverclyde seat in the next general election, said: "This is a league table we should be ashamed to be at the top of.

"There are thousands of people in our community who want to work but can't find any job.

"We need to do more to bring jobs to our community and make sure that everyone who wants to work is able to.

"The increase in the number of young people looking for a job is particularly worrying."