Great job creation and reduction in unemployment in 2021. Unemployment was reduced by 615,900 people in the past year and 840,700 jobs were created, according to data from the Active Population Survey (EPA) published this Thursday by the INE. The number of unemployed thus manages to lower pre-pandemic levels, to stand at 3,103,800, the lowest figure since 2008.
The last quarter of the year was very good for the labor market. The number of employed increased by 153,900 people compared to the third quarter of 2021 and stood at a total of 20,184,900. The total number of workers has already exceeded the ceiling of 20 million employed last quarter and at the end of the year it continued to rise, at its highest since 2008 (20.5 million). The interannual rate of job creation reached 4.35%, slightly less than during the summer.
For its part, unemployment also left very good news. The number of unemployed fell in the last quarter of the year by 312,900 people (-9.16%) and stands at a total of 3,103,800. Thus, for the first time, it falls below the number of unemployed before the COVID crisis (3.19 million in 2019), an expected figure that had not yet been exceeded. The unemployment rate stood at 13.3%, 1.24 points less than in the previous quarter.
The survey confirms the good performance of employment collected each month by the Social Security affiliation and registered unemployment data, which leave 2021 as a year marked by records in the labor market. An exercise in intense job recovery lost during the pandemic crisis, but more than that. The labor market in 2021 grew above pre-covid levels in several sectors. In others, such as tourism, the wounds of the coronavirus are still noticeable.
It is also worth noting the sharp reduction in unemployment in a labor market that had more participants. The active population increased by 224,700 people last year compared to 2020, to a total of 23,288,800 people of age and available to work. The activity rate reached 58.65%, 46 tenths more than the previous year.
The private sector pulls employment
Contrary to some accusations, like those of the PP, public employment grew last year, but the one that really pulled the labor market was the private sector. In the last quarter of 2021, the number of workers increased by 162,500 people in the private sector and decreased by 8,500 employed in the public sector. If we look at the last 12 months, employment increased by 744,300 people in the private sector (4.66%) and by 96,400 employed in the public sector (2.85%).
By sectors, employment increased in all of them last year. In which more workers added in relative terms was agriculture (+7.4%), with 58,000 more employed persons. It was followed by the service sector, with employment growth of 4.84% compared to 2020, which in terms of people is the largest: 705,400 more employed people. Next, employment in industry increased by 2.66%, by 71,500 more people and construction remained almost the same, with a slight increase of 0.45%, which translates into 5,700 more workers.
Wage earners increased this quarter by 57,700. Those with an indefinite contract grew by 150,600, while those with a temporary contract fell by 92,900. In annual variation, the number of wage earners increased by 732,700 (permanent employment by 425,000 people and temporary employment by 307,700). The number of self-employed workers has risen by 96,000 this quarter and by 105,800 in the last 12 months.