Employment falters in August with almost 190,000 fewer affiliates

Employment office in Madrid. / RC

Unemployment rose by 40,428 people in the last month, a smaller increase than in previous summers despite economic uncertainty

Jose Maria Waiter

August has closed the high tourist season in Spain with more unemployed and fewer employees after almost a year and a half of constant improvement in the labor market after the coronavirus crisis. Now, with the uncertainty recovered by the war in Ukraine and the high inflation that affects the economy, Spain has registered 40,428 more unemployed in the last month, and the number of Social Security affiliates decreases by 189,963 people.

The Spanish work calendar maintains the usual trend of an economy very focused on tourism, which experiences its best months of employment from April, at Easter, until August, when contracts to cover travel and hospitality needs begin to be settled. The Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, had already anticipated that employment would begin to suffer this month, although less than usual if the figures are compared with other years. In any case, the figures of the labor market were the keys to which the Government clung until now to defend its economic policy.

In terms of unemployment, the number of people registered in the Offices of the State Public Employment Service (SEPE) at the end of August has increased by 40,428 people and stands at 2,924,240. Compared to August 2021, unemployment has fallen by 409,675 people, more than 12% in year-on-year terms.

The Ministry of Labor explains that "despite the context of economic uncertainty, it is a much smoother increase than in recent years prior to the pandemic and that, in addition, also affects the activities that usually suffer this increase in August." In the months of August prior to the pandemic, when the data was distorted by the restrictions, unemployment increased by more than 46,000, 47,000 and 50,000 people, from 2017 to 2019, respectively.

Unemployment decreased in agriculture by 6,693 people (-4.53%) and in the Group without Previous Employment by -494 people (-0.2%) and increased in the Services Sector with 37,546 more unemployed (1.85%), in Construction where unemployment increased by 5,095 people (2.23%) and in Industry by 4,974 people (2.13%).

In addition, the total number of registered contracts has been 1,283,791. The signing of new indefinite contracts is stabilized since, of the total, 506,731 are of an indefinite nature and represent 39.47%. This percentage is more than four times higher than the one registered before the labor reform.

The behavior of employment has also reflected a loss of jobs in August. The average affiliation to Social Security accounts for 189,963 fewer affiliates, a figure that the Ministry clarifies that it is “a smaller setback than the average for the months of August 2017, 2018 and 2019”, before the pandemic when the figure was almost reached 200,000 members less in those months. The total number of affiliates thus stands at 20,151,001 (10,771,093 men and 9,379,908 women), which is 677,277 more affiliates than a year ago.

Social Security does highlight that, in seasonally adjusted terms, employment has improved by 62,135 people, to a total of 20,173,277 affiliates. Thus, 16 consecutive months of increase in employment are accumulated.

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