Not since 2008 has unemployment been this low in Spain in the month of March

by Lorraine Williamson
March unemployment

The number of registered unemployment figures fell by 33,405 people in March compared to February. This represents a percentage decrease of 1.2%, according to data published on Tuesday by Spain’s Ministry of Labour.

After the decline in March, which was mainly due to the services sector and the fall in female unemployment, the total number of unemployed stood at 2,727,003. This is the lowest level for a month of March since 2008, the ministry stressed.

Since the beginning of the comparable historical series in 1996, unemployment has fallen 24 times and risen 5 times in March. At the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, the increase in the number of unemployed was the largest, with 302,365 unemployed. On the other hand, the largest decrease was in 2002, with 66,804 fewer unemployed. Seasonally adjusted, registered unemployment rose by 11,900 people in March 2024.

Lower unemployment last year

In the past year, unemployment fell by 135,257 unemployed, which is 4.7% less. Among women, unemployment fell by 5% (-85,766 women). The decrease in male unemployment was 4.3% (-49,491 men).


The largest monthly decrease was recorded in the services sector, with 31,294 fewer unemployed (-1.6%). This is followed by manufacturing, where the number of unemployed fell by 2,055 (-0.9%). Unemployment also fell in agriculture, by 1,502 people (-1.5%). There were 333 fewer unemployed in the construction sector (-0.1%).

Unemployment fell more among women

Unemployment fell in March for both sexes, but slightly more for women. Female unemployment fell by 23,009 women compared to the previous month (-1.4%). On the other hand, unemployment among men fell by 10,396 men (-0.9%). At the end of March, the total number of unemployed women was 1,632,557, while the number of unemployed men was 1,094,446.


Broken down by age, unemployment among young people under the age of 25 fell by 1.3% in March, with 2,748 fewer unemployed than at the end of February. Unemployment among the over-25s fell by 30,657 (-1.2%).

Cogesa Expats

After the decline in March, the total number of unemployed people under 25 fell to a total of 205,007, the lowest figure for a month of March in the historical series.

Unemployment fell in 15 communities

Registered unemployment fell in March in 15 autonomous communities and rose in the Basque Country and Madrid, with 926 and 701 more unemployed respectively. On the other hand, the largest monthly decreases were recorded in Andalucia (-11,374 unemployed), the Canary Islands (-4,686 unemployed) and the Valencian Community (-3,998).

The development of employment in provinces

Unemployment fell in 46 provinces, led by Málaga (-3,095 unemployed), Santa Cruz de Tenerife (-2,456) and Seville (-2,289). Unemployment rose in six provinces, especially in Madrid (+701 unemployed), Gipuzkoa (+534 unemployed) and Biscay (+427).

Furthermore, unemployment among foreigners decreased by 4,807 compared to the previous month (-1.3%), bringing the total to 366,441. This means 6,474 fewer unemployed than one year previously (-1.7%).

The funding ratio

The ministry also reported that spending on unemployment benefits in February 2024 (the latest available data) amounted to over €2 billion. This represents 3.8% more than in the same month of 2023. The average gross benefit was €26 higher than in the same month of 2023. The total number of recipients of unemployment benefits stood at 1,893,595 at the end of February, 1.6% more than in February 2023.

The funding ratio, which stood at 68.11% a year earlier, rose to 73.19% in February 2024, the highest value for a February month since 2011, the Ministry of Labour highlighted.

The benefit data is always a month behind the unemployment data, so this Tuesday the ministry published the unemployment figures for March and the benefit statistics for February.

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