A slump in the North Sea oil and gas industry has resulted in almost 8,000 job losses, according to the industry body.

Statistics released by Oil and Gas UK also shows that 120,000 roles have been axed across the wider economy, as the industry fell from 41,700 employees in 2014 to just 34,000 currently.

In addition, the amount of jobs reliant on the industry, such as caterers, hotel staff and taxi drivers, has suffered a similar fall from 453,800 to 330,400 across the same two year period.

Oil and Gas UK says it anticipates a further fall in the amount of supported jobs to drop below 40,000 by the conclusion of 2016.

The organisation’s Chief Executive, Deirdre Michie, said that the impact of the global downturn of the industry on the UK economy cannot be overestimated.

She added that the personal toll on people who have lost their jobs due to the industry’s downturn cannot be overestimated either.

The figured reflect the damaged suffered in the economy of North East Scotland over the last two years, as seen in the falling price in crude oil barrels from $115 to just $50 across the period.

One of the world’s oldest oil basins and one of the most expensive for producers, the UK North Sea has been one of the hardest sites hit by the downturn.

Over the past few months, a number of the world’s biggest oil producers have made significant job cuts, for example last month Shell announced that it was to cut almost 500 North Sea jobs, while BP declared earlier in the year that it was to remove 600 roles.

As a result, the amount of people claiming unemployment benefit in Aberdeen has doubled over the last two years, while house prices in the city fell by 14% over the last 12 months.