UNEMPLOYMENT will not return to pre-recession levels for another four years, the TUC has warned.
A study for the union organisation found unemployment has continued to rise in some parts of the UK, with Scotland remaining one of the worst blackspots.
The TUC said regional inequalities in the labour market jeopardised the benefit of economic growth being felt equally, with Scotland faring worse for employment along with Yorkshire, Humber and the east of England.
General secretary Brendan Barber said: "Although overall unemployment has fallen slightly in recent months in a number places, there are parts of Britain where it is getting worse.
"Even if current rates of progress continue, it will take years for some areas to get unemployment back down to pre-recession levels.
"Unless urgent steps are taken to rebalance the economy and get people back into work at a faster rate, the Government will continue to lose out on billions in tax revenues as a result of unnecessarily high unemployment."
The study was published ahead of new unemployment figures due on Wednesday.
The last round of jobs statistics published in October showed unemployment had increased for the second month in a row in Scotland, with the number of people out of work rising by 7000 to 222,000 over the three months to August.
The Scottish unemployment rate stands at 8.2%, above the average of 7.9% for the whole of the UK.
This was despite separate figures showing the number of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) claimants had fallen by 1300 from August to 139,900 in September, putting it 3500 lower than it was in June. This is believed to be driven by more people taking up part-time posts, which has led to concerns that young people in particular may be losing their JSA benefits in exchange for working only a few hours a week for less money.
The October figures showed Scotland's youth unemployment rate has increased over the year by 1.3% to 23.7%, although the number of people aged 18 to 24 claiming unemployment benefit has fallen by 3700. Youth unemployment is a key focus for the SNP.
A recent report by Citizens Advice Scotland also warned that the drop in claimant count masks a reality of thousands of Scots being pushed into poverty and debt due to increasingly strict JobCentre sanctions against clients who miss appointments or turn down a job. JobCentres now have the power to stop a claimant's benefit payments for at least 13 weeks for such infringements.
Meanwhile, a separate study published today revealed that managerial and professional jobs have increased in the UK in the past year while the number of electricians, plumbers, teaching assistants, police officers and nursing auxiliaries has fallen.
The report by the Jobs Economist consultancy found there are 13% more production managers and directors in manufacturing, and 19% more human resources managers.