Workers in Spain at highest level for thirteen years

by Lorraine Williamson
workers in Spain

Spain last crossed the 20 million workers threshold 13 years ago. The Spanish labour market is improving rapidly since the onset of the pandemic. The number of unemployed and ERTE schemes decreased significantly in the third quarter of 2021. 

On Thursday morning, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) released the figures of the Encuesta de Poblacion Activa (EPA) (active labour force survey). The number of unemployed in Spain fell by 3.6% in the third quarter compared to the previous three months. In concrete terms, this amounts to 127,100 fewer unemployed. 

Not so many workers in Spain since 2008 

One of the key milestones is that since the fourth quarter of 2008, Spain has not registered as many working people. This takes into account people in employment as well as the self-employed. And now, after thirteen years, Spain will cross the 20 million mark in the active labor force in the third quarter of 2021. 

Unemployment rate approaches pre-pandemic level 

Currently 3,416,700 people are still looking for work in Spain, which represents 14.6% of the total working population. While it is too early to say the economy has recovered, this rate is approaching the 13.8% unemployment rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019 – just before the pandemic. 

Fewer people dependent on ERTE scheme in Spain 

The recovery of the labour market since the pandemic is also reflected in the number of people receiving an ERTE scheme. In the third quarter, this figure fell by 108,600. At the end of September, 239,230 people were still dependent on such a work arrangement. 

More and more people are also returning to the office to work. In the third quarter, only 8% of people worked from home more than half the time; a decrease of 1.4% compared to the second quarter. 

Major problem of temporary contracts in Spain continues 

Although the third quarter of 2021 shows very optimistic figures, there is still concern that temporary contracts are the main means of creating more jobs. Of the more than 800,000 people who found a job this year, 63% had a temporary contract. 

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