Spain’s unemployment rate in March at lowest since 2008

by Lorraine Williamson
March unemployment

The number of unemployed people registered with public employment services in Spain fell by 48,755 in March compared to February (-1.67%). This is partly due to the extra jobs before and during Semana Santa.

Spain’s labour ministry announced the figures, stressing that this percentage drop in unemployment in March, is the largest since 2002. Spain had 2,862,260 unemployed at the end of March, the lowest figure for the month since 2008. 

Second Deputy Prime Minister and Employment Minister Yolanda Díaz had already expected the March unemployment figures to be “favourable”. She stressed that the fall in unemployment in March was a particularly positive figure in an international context of uncertainty, especially in the financial sphere. Furthermore, this ends two months of increases. 

The fall far exceeds that of March 2022, when unemployment fell by only 2,921 just after the outbreak of war in Ukraine. But was less than that of March 2021 (-59,149 unemployed). Since the beginning of the comparable historical series in 1996, unemployment in March fell 23 times and rose only 5. In 2020, Covid increased unemployment by more than 300,000.   

Last March, seasonally adjusted registered unemployment fell by 38,737. In the past year, unemployment fell by 246,503 people. A drop of 7.9%.  

Services sector stands out  

Unemployment fell in four economic sectors in March. The services sector saw the biggest drop, with 42,789 fewer unemployed (-2%). This was mainly due to hiring in the hospitality sector in preparation for Semana Santa. 

This was followed by construction, where unemployment fell by 3,898 (-1.7%); industry, with 3,419 fewer unemployed (-1.47%) and agriculture, with 2,648 fewer unemployed (-2.3%). 

At the end of March, the total number of unemployed women stood at 1,718,323. This was the lowest figure in the past 15 years, while the number of unemployed men stood at 1,143,937. By age, unemployment among the under-25s fell by 0.1% in March, with 267 fewer unemployed than at the end of February. Meanwhile unemployment among the over-25s fell by 48,488 (-1.8%). 

It was the first time in the past nine years that youth unemployment fell in March.  The total number of unemployed under-25s stood at 215,099, the lowest figure for a March in the historical series. Social security enrolments experienced the best March ever, with 206,410 new employed. 

Also read: Hospitality sector in Malaga forced to look to Africa and South America for staff

Cogesa Expats

More unemployed people in Madrid  

Registered unemployment fell in March in all autonomous communities except Madrid, where unemployment rose by 1,013. The biggest decreases were recorded in Andalucia (-15,284 unemployed), the Canary Islands (-5,775) and Castile and León (-4,446 unemployed).

Unemployment fell in 49 provinces, especially in the following areas;

  • Seville (-4,053 unemployed)
  • Málaga (-3,685)
  • Las Palmas (-3,323)

Unemployment rose in the following 3 provinces;

  • Madrid (+1,013 unemployed)
  • Ceuta (+197)
  • Ourense (+32)

Among foreigners, unemployment fell by 3,073 from the previous month (-0.8%), bringing the total number of unemployed immigrants to 372,915. Thas is 19,515 fewer unemployed than a year earlier (-5%).   

Substantially more permanent contracts  

In March, 1,315,095 contracts were registered, 21.3% less than in the same month of 2022. Of these, 615,674 were open-ended contracts, 19.8% more than in March 2022.   

Of contracts signed in March, 46.82% of those were permanent. This is a higher percentage than in February, when the proportion of permanent contracts was 45.46%. Of the total number of permanent contracts signed in March;

  • 284,208 were full-time, 9% more than in the same month last year
  • 180,909 were open-ended contracts (+70.6%)
  • 150,557 were part-time open-ended contracts (+2.5%)

In March, 699,421 temporary contracts were concluded, 39.6% less than in the same month of 2022. 

In the first three months of this year, just over 1.6 million permanent contracts were signed. That is 53.3% more than in the same period of 2022, and 1.96 million temporary contracts, 46.1% less. More than a year after the implemented labour reform, the change in the contracting model seems to be leading to stable employment. 

Unemployment benefits 

Spending on unemployment benefits was €1,952.7 million in February (the latest data available), 3.8% higher than in the same month of 2022. Benefit data always lag a month behind unemployment data, which is why the ministry published the March unemployment and February benefit statistics this Tuesday.

Baycrest Wealth

You may also like