Good employment figures in social security enrollments in Spain in February

by Lorraine Williamson
February employment figures

The data for the Spanish labour market was positive in February, after falling in January. This decrease is common due to seasonal influences. The number of unemployed registered with the employment office fell by 7,542 in February. The number of people affiliated to social security rose by 103,621. Nevertheless, Spain remains the leader in Europe with the highest unemployment.

The figures represent a 0.5% increase in employment and a 0.27% decrease in unemployment. The figures are better than in February last year, with the only exception being agriculture, where the decline in employment continues.

Social security

The social security enrollment figure is particularly striking. It is the highest absolute job growth for a February month since 2007. According to the government’s seasonally adjusted figures (adjusted for cyclical fluctuations), Spain already has almost 21 million registrations (20,954,785). This is the highest figure since records began.

February employment and unemployment figures

In terms of unemployment, this is the best figure for February since 2008. While enrollment accelerated year-on-year (up 2.67% from 2.42% in 2023), the decline in unemployment slowed. There is a decrease of 5.17% compared to 6.45% in the same month last year. In total, Spain has 20,708,382 average social security members and 2,760,408 unemployed.


In February, nearly all sectors received more social security members. The hotels and catering (29,230 members), education (28,941) and construction (18,189) sectors stood out the most. For the self-employed, construction (1,830), liberal professions and scientific and technical activities (1,657) and education (1,055) were the frontrunners in terms of job growth compared to the previous month.

Cogesa Expats

The agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors are exceptional, with a slight decrease in the number of self-employed. This is further proof of the transformation of the countryside in recent years. Technical improvements make the work less labour-intensive, but the disappearance of small independent farms has given way to large export-oriented companies that need paid labour.

Another sector that is shifting from the self-employed to salaried employees is trade. The decrease compared to 2023 is 1.43%.

The transition from temporary to permanent work is slowing down

Unemployment fell in all sectors of activity, but rose by 3.28% among young people under the age of 25 and among the previously unemployed. That’s common in the first months of the year, when more people are encouraged to look for work. Unemployment rose in six autonomous communities, with Aragon and Madrid leading the way. Eleven regions recorded a decrease, most notably in Andalucia and the Valencian Community.

Spain has highest unemployment rate in Europe

Despite the fall in unemployment in recent years, Spain remains the leader in unemployment compared to other European countries. January data, published by Eurostat last Friday, show that the unemployment rate rose to 11.6%, the highest among the 27 member countries. That of young people under the age of 25 is 28.6%, also the highest. In terms of female unemployment, Spain leads the list together with Greece with 13.2%.

Also read: Spain increases unemployment benefit

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