Nearly 20,000 new unemployed in Spain with the end of summer

by Lorraine Williamson
end of summer unemployed

MADRID – The movements in the Spanish job market in September show similarities to previous years after the end of the summer season. However, the number of unemployed is now increasing more significantly. 

The sectors where jobs are disappearing are the usual suspects: retail, hospitality, and the public sector, which lays off seasonal workers hired for the summer holidays. This typically makes September a challenging month for employment due to the end of the high season in most parts of the country. 

End of summer unemployed workers

As in previous years, the number of people registering with public employment services increases compared to August. The number of registered workers grows slightly, albeit modestly. Data published on Tuesday by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security reports 19,768 new unemployed individuals and an increase of 18,295 registered workers. 

This results in a 0.73% increase in unemployment compared to the previous month. This figure is worse than the average of the past ten years (0.18%). Nevertheless, unemployment continues to decline significantly on an annual basis, with a decrease of 7.46%, bringing the total number of unemployed individuals to 2,722,468, the lowest for the month of September since 2008. 

Employment on an annual basis sees significant growth 

Regarding the number of registered workers, the monthly growth is only 0.09%, lower than the average of the past decade (0.13%). However, employment also sees significant annual growth, with a 2.7% increase (544,508 workers). It reaches a record number of registered workers with Social Security for the month of September: 20,724,796. 

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By sector:

The sectors experiencing job losses are typical for this month. In the general regime, retail (-40,024), hospitality (-32,223), and the public sector (-39,503) lose employees because they no longer need seasonal workers who filled in during the summer holidays. On the other hand, education sees a strong increase of 85,817 registered workers compared to the previous month (9.51%) due to the start of the school year. On an annual basis, nearly all sectors gain jobs, with hospitality leading with 82,727 new registered workers. 

Self-employed workers: 

In the self-employed regime, something similar occurs compared to the previous month, with larger job losses in hospitality (-2,521) and retail (-1,053). At the same time, these declines also occur on an annual basis, with 1,338 fewer self-employed workers in hospitality and 16,159 fewer in retail. This could be due to a shift of labour force to the general regime. 

Significant increase in youth unemployment: 

This shift in sectors also impacts unemployment, with a decrease compared to the previous month in agriculture (-2.06%), industry (-0.09%), and construction (-1.74%), with an increase only in the service sector by 0.98%. Unemployment also grows among those without prior work experience by 2.85%, which is a concerning figure as this increase is also observed on an annual basis (1.76%). 

This is reflected in a significant increase in youth unemployment under 25 compared to August, namely 9.07%, which is much higher than the 0.73% increase in the overall population. In fact, within this age group, unemployment is only 2.51% lower on an annual basis. This could be due to more young people actively seeking work in September, either aiming for their first job or due to the end of summer jobs, as the number of registered workers under 25 also decreases compared to August. 

The share of permanent employment increases: 

On the other hand, the share of permanent employment continues to rise compared to the total. In September 2023, 77.8% of workers registered with the General Social Security System were employed on permanent contracts. In comparison to the same month in 2019, the percentage of permanent employment as a share of the total was only 62.4%. Broken down by the type of permanent contract, the majority (73.7%) falls into the category of full-time permanent contracts, 18.6% are part-time permanent contracts, and 7.7% are in the category of fixed discontinuity. 

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