Spain has highest unemployment rate in the entire OECD

by Lorraine Williamson
unemployment rate in Spain

Of the 38 countries that make up the OECD, Spain is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to unemployment. Although the unemployment rate in Spain is sky-high, the country has managed to halve the figure since the financial crisis of 2012. 

Two years after the start of the corona pandemic, Spain is in a better position than in pre-pandemic times in terms of unemployment. Yet Spain does not come out well when the country’s unemployment is compared with other countries. In 2022, Spain will be the country with the highest unemployment rate of all countries that are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

Spanish unemployment head and shoulders above OECD average 

In February 2022, 12.6% of Spain’s active labour force will be unemployed. The average percentage of the European Union is set at 6.2% and that of the OECD at 5.2%. Neighbouring countries such as France (7.4%), Portugal (5.8%), and Italy (8.5%) also show significantly lower unemployment rates. Of all the OECD countries, Colombia (12.5%) and Greece (11.9%) come closest to Spain’s unemployment level. 

Unemployment in Spain halved since financial crisis 

While Spain continues to show the highest unemployment rates after the pandemic, this is far from a record for the country. During the economic crisis from 2012 to 2014, unemployment peaked at 26% of the workforce. 

Since the pandemic, a significant amount of jobs have been created, causing unemployment to more than halve since the crisis. In 2021, unemployment in Spain fell faster than ever. Despite these records, Spain is failing to close the gap with the rest of the OECD countries. 

OECD has lowest unemployment rate since 2001 

With an average unemployment rate of 5.2% within the OECD, the figure is lower than before the pandemic for the first time. This percentage is also the lowest unemployment level since the measurements started in 2001. The OECD emphasises that the unemployment rate does not exactly reflect the number of people seeking work. This is because some people are not actively looking for a job or are not available for it. 

Also read: Unemployment down in Spain

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