Employment is already affected by the war: 100,000 less employed and 70,900 more unemployed

Queue outside an employment office. / archive

Indefinite hiring exceeds 12.8 million workers, the highest figure in the historical series, after the entry into force of the labor reform

Lucia Palacios

The labor market is beginning to experience the first symptoms of a slowdown as a result of the impact of the war in Ukraine, the inflationary spiral and the supply crisis, precisely when it had just recovered from the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which suddenly it took over a million jobs in just a month, and it had picked up cruising speed. Although at the moment the resentment is slight and not alarming, since its evolution continues to be better than economic activity.

Spain has not managed to break on this occasion either with what has already become a tradition in the first quarter of the year: that of destroying employment and increasing unemployment, surely also as a result of that transport strike that brought the country to the brink of collapse in the last weeks of March. And that pattern derived from an eminently seasonal economy has been repeated this year, when 100,200 employed people have been lost, a figure well below that of the previous two years, when in the midst of the pandemic 137,500 were destroyed in 2021 and 285,600 in 2020, but higher to the average of previous years (-87,975 employed in the 2019-2016 period), according to data from the Active Population Survey (EPA) published this Thursday by the INE.

And, as is also usual at this time, especially when Easter was delayed to April, unemployment increased from January to March by 70,900 people after five quarters down, a figure significantly higher than the years prior to the coronavirus. For this reason, the number of unemployed rose to 3,174,700 and the rate rose 0.32 points to stand at 13.65%.

The Secretary of State for the Economy, Gonzalo García, acknowledged a "slight slowdown" this quarter, but asked not to forget that the year "began with the appearance of the omicron variant of the virus and, subsequently, it has suffered the consequences of the prices of the energy and bottlenecks on the supply side that have been accentuated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Therefore, he claimed not to question his strength or the "opportunities" he is producing.

Because in the face of these shadows, there are also lights in the labor market, hand in hand with the quality of employment, which has improved strongly after the approval of the labor reform. Thus, and although until April the changes in hiring were not fully in force, permanent hiring exceeds 12.8 million workers, the highest figure in the historical series, while the temporary rate is suddenly cut 1.2 points up to 24.2%; still 'yes, it is still the highest in Europe. However, full-time employment decreased this quarter by 171,500 people, while part-time employment increased by 71,300. In this way, the percentage of employed people who work part-time, mostly undesirably, rises 42 hundredths, to 13.99%.

Employment has also improved in year-on-year rates to grow at a rate of 4.57%: in the last year 878,000 jobs were created, which exceeds the figure of 20 million employed. The increase in the last year was greater in workers with indefinite contracts, 557,700 more employed, compared to 266,500 temporary, accelerating the creation of indefinite employment in the last quarter due to the effect of the labor reform.

The dynamism of the labor market in year-on-year terms was generalized, having created employment and reduced unemployment in all sectors of activity and in all the autonomous communities.

The increase in employment was concentrated in the last year in the private sector, with the creation of 807,200 jobs, and a growth of 5.11%, compared to the 70,700 that were created in the public sector, which represents a growth of 2.08%.

Unemployment, for its part, fell by 479,200 people in the last year and the unemployment rate fell by more than two points, standing at 13.6%.

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