More unemployed, fewer jobs in Spain at end of summer

by Lorraine Williamson
unemployed figures

After six months of decline, Spain’s unemployment rate rose in August. According to data from the Spanish Social Security Ministry, 2,702,700 people were unemployed in Spain at the end of August. 

According to data from Spain’s Social Security Ministry, there were 2,702,700 unemployed people in Spain at the end of August. That´s an increase of 24,826 unemployed. However, it is still the lowest number since August 2008. The number of employed people was the highest ever in an August month at 20,706,500. 

It is a traditional dip at the end of August, for many workers hired before the peak ends their contracts. So far in the 21st century, August of every year ended with a fall in employment, except for the anomalous year 2020. Youth unemployment also rose in August, with 3,919 more unemployed. This brings the total to 187,597 unemployed under twenty-five. 

So far this year, 410,219 jobs have been added in Spain, 84,000 more than in the same period last year. There were also 555,499 more employed at the end of August this year than in August 2022. Acting Prime Minister Sánchez, referred to “record” employment figures. He attributed this to the reforms implemented by the government in recent years. The Social Security Ministry stressed that job losses in August this year were ‘milder’ than in the years immediately before the pandemic, although only in 2019 and 2018, because in the other years of the recovery phase of the monetary crisis, job losses in August were less than in 2023. 

Almost all sectors saw increase in unemployment  

The service sector saw the biggest rise in unemployment. And this is not only due to the end of summer season and seasonal contracts, as hardly any jobs were lost in the hospitality sector economist and labour market expert Florentino Felgueroso. He cites ‘holiday closures’ as a crucial factor, especially in construction (-17,262), industry (-15,500). 

Along with services, construction, and manufacturing account for almost 50,000 fewer jobs. In these sectors, there are still employers who continue the historic fraudulent practice of firing their workers during the holiday month to save some of their wages and contributions. Within this sector, the unexpected job losses in education stand out (-61,476).  

In healthcare, 14,886 jobs were added. This is partly due to the replacement of workers going on holiday, especially in tourist areas and areas with the largest influx of people in summer.  

Slight decline in new permanent employees 

A total of 1,088,831 employment contracts were signed in August, 342,552 fewer than in July and almost 200,000 fewer than in the same month in 2022.  

Of these, 38% were permanent, the lowest percentage of permanent contracts since the labour reform took full effect in March 2022. 

Regional level 

At regional level, the number of jobs fell in thirteen regions, with Catalonia – which lost 60,317 jobs – and Madrid (-36,860 jobs) leading the way. Only Cantabria, Asturias, Extremadura and the Canary Islands managed to create jobs, although only slightly. 

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