January ends with fewer workers and more unemployed in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
January unemployed figures

Spain closes January with 215,047 fewer people who are part of the active labour force. At the same time, the number of unemployed in January rose by 70,800. However, despite these figures, there is no reason to panic. Furthermore, some milestones have even been achieved. 

The reason why there is no need to panic is that January actually shows a dip in employment every year due to the end of the holidays. From mid-November to early January, more people are often needed, including in the hospitality and hotel industry. After this period, things calm down in these types of sectors and contracts are not renewed or people are fired. 

At the end of January, 20,081,224 people are actively employed in Spain. That is more than 454,000 more than in January 2022 and the highest number in the historical series of the month of January. This is evident from figures from the Ministry of Employment. 

Women and catering in Spain hit harder 

Nevertheless, the working population decreased slightly and this mainly affects women and especially the hospitality sector. The number of people registered with social security fell by 1.2% among women and by 0.9% among men. The hospitality industry lost 3.3% of the number of employees in the entire sector. The Ministry says that employment remains quite high in information and communication technology, in the scientific sector and in technology. 

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January 2023 will reach several milestones 

February starts with a total number of unemployed of 2,908,397. The Ministry of Employment emphasises that this figure has reached the lowest level since January 2008. Compared to January 2022, unemployment has even fallen significantly by 6.87%. 

Youth unemployment, which refers to young people up to the age of 25, has increased by 4% but is at its lowest point for a January since 1997. The total number of unemployed under 25 is currently 203,504. 

Progress on permanent contracts in Spain 

One of the challenges in Spain is still the problem of temporary contracts. Nevertheless, the Minister of Employment says that according to the figures, the percentage of employees with a temporary contract fell to an all-time low of 15% in the first month of 2023. This compared to the pre-labour reform average of 30%. 

The shift to more stable contracts is especially noted among young people. Three out of four employees (77%) under the age of 30 now have a permanent contract, compared to the average of 47% of young people between 2017 and 2021. 

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