Spain closed 2022 with 79,900 less unemployment than the previous year. In the fourth quarter of the year, 43,800 more people were unemployed, bringing the total to 3,024,000.
This is according to data from the Labour Force Survey (EPA), published on Thursday by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE). The unemployment rate fell by several tenths of a percentage point to 12.87%. This was due to an increase in public sector employment. Between October and December, private sector employment fell by 101,900.
More than three million unemployed people
Spain’s employment figures improved from 2021 last year. But this was done very cautiously and with the bittersweet taste of the upturn in unemployment in recent months. According to the EPA, between October and December, 43,800 people became unemployed. Compared to the third quarter, the unemployment rate rose by two tenths of a percentage point. This meant the three-million mark was crossed.
Rise stronger among men
In particular, the number of unemployed men rose by 64,200. Thus pushing up the male unemployment rate by almost six tenths of a point to 11.32%. The number of unemployed women rose by 20,400, reducing the female unemployment rate by two tenths to 14.61%.
These figures differ from the registered unemployment data published by the Ministry of Labour in recent months, which has been influenced by the controversy over accounting for the number of permanently unemployed. ‘The data are very different from the registered unemployment, which showed a decrease in the three months of October, November and December,’ said Joaquín Pérez, secretary-general of the USO union. ‘People who have contracts but are not working, as is the case with the boom in fixed-term contracts, do not consider themselves to be actively employed because the reality is that they are not working,’ he added.
In any case, according to the EPA, Spain reduced its unemployment rate by four tenths of a percentage point in 2022, from 13.32% to 12.87%, compared to the previous year, with 79,900 fewer unemployed, according to the EPA. This is the second consecutive year with falling unemployment rates, following the 2020 peak in unemployment due to the pandemic.
Number of employed over 20 million
On the other hand, Spain closed 2022 with 20,463,900 people employed, the highest figure recorded at the end of the year since 2007, at the height of the property bubble. Compared to 2021, employment grew 1.4% last year, i.e. by 278,900 people (146,800 men and 132,100 women), marking the second consecutive positive year, after the disappearance of 622,000 jobs in 2020.
Record number of public sector jobs
In the fourth quarter of the year, 20,000 more people were employed in the public sector, compared with a drop of 101,900 in the private sector. The economic slowdown then took its toll on private employers, who created 162,500 jobs in 2021 and 67,900 in 2019 over the same period. In total, Spain employs 16,937,600 people in the private sector and 3,526,200 in the public sector. This is a record figure in the historical series. Over the past 12 months, private sector employment rose by 228,200 and public sector employment by 50,700.
Young people particularly affected last quarter
The fall in employment in the last quarter was particularly pronounced among the youngest workers. Employment among the under-25s fell by 79,100, although the number of unemployed also fell by 75,900. Despite the eventual rebound, youth unemployment at the end of the year fell 1.4% from the previous year to 29.2%. That is the lowest level for that period since 2008.