Employment returns to pre-Covid levels thanks to the 2012 labor reform

The year 2021 closed with more employment and fewer unemployed and all this thanks to
the 2012 labor reform
, which in its essence remains with the standard agreed in December between Government and social agents. Employment remains in 2022 as the great hope for economic growth, but also entangled in doubts about how the labor market will behave if the new reform manages to move forward in Congress.

With a historical rise of 4%, the highest rate since 2005 and almost double the growth of the economy (2.6%), the labor market has shelved the second year of the pandemic with enrollment at record highs. Unemployment, for

its share also stood at the lowest level of a December since 2007, after registering its biggest drop in the historical series.
Job creation and unemployment go hand in hand this time
and they do so in accordance with the rules imposed by the now modified 2012 reform.

According to data provided by the Government, the number of Social Security affiliates in seasonally adjusted terms stood at 19,842,427 people in December, which is the highest affiliation level in the series. In this way, 362,613 people surpassed those employed in February 2020, the month prior to the outbreak of the health crisis. The global balance for 2021 shows an average membership growth of 776,478 people, with especially large increases for the activities that suffered the most due to the restrictions at the beginning of the pandemic, such as artistic activities (14.1% compared to December 2020 ) and hospitality (13.8% more).

Average affiliation to Social Security
Average affiliation to Social Security - ABC

Despite the dizzying deployment of the Ómicron variable since the middle of the month, enrollment has also remained strong in December, with a growth of 72,553 workers compared to the previous month, the highest increase in that month. Thus, eight consecutive months of increases are chained, which add a total of 822,802 more employed persons to the system since May, and it seems that the separation of health and labor statistics is definitively consolidated.

Push from the public sector

Also noteworthy is the advancement of employment in the public sector at the end of the year, especially the health sector, with 158,000 more affiliates, followed by administrative activities and auxiliary services (87,000 more); the public sector, without taking into account health or education, adds an increase of 74,000 extra affiliates. Measured in terms of percentage growth, the sectors with the highest increases were the information and communications sector, which rose almost 10%, health (9.2%) and the public sector (6.6%).

However, an increase in ERTE workers was detected in the last days of December, increasing by 20,000 the number of workers benefiting from this protection scheme in the last month. Specifically, on December 9 there were 80,540 people in ERTE Covid, compared to the 102,548 with which it closed on December 31. A fact that coincides with the new punishment to the hotel industry that the new variant has meant at a key moment for the business such as the Christmas holidays and after a season in which the arrival of foreign tourists has not finished consolidating.

For Lorenzo Amor, president of ATA, the reduction of unemployment by 782,000 jobs and the creation of almost 57,000 new self-employed is "great news" and a "tangible sample" of the effect of the 2012 labor reform

In fact, the hospitality industry is the sector that continues to feel the ravages of the pandemic the hardest and stands out as the one that has the furthest from its pre-Covid recovery in terms of employment. At the moment, the hospitality industry has almost 46,000 fewer affiliates than it had in February 2020, a figure that does not include staff still affected by ERTE. In the background, and a long way off, is the financial sector, which is experiencing a more silent and structural crisis that has resulted in a deficit of affiliates of more than 8,000 since the health crisis began due to the Covid-19.

The good news in the affiliation is also replicated in the unemployment statistics. The last month of the year 2021 ends with a fall in the total number of people unemployed in SEPE offices of 76,782 in relation to the previous month, a drop of 2.41%. In this way, December marks a new record by accumulating ten consecutive months of decreases, the longest period in the historical series in which the total decrease in unemployed is 902,884 people, according to the Ministry of Labor.

Thus, the global number of unemployed is lowered to 3,105,905 people, the lowest level in a month of December since 2007 and a total of 140,142 fewer unemployed than at the beginning of the pandemic, in February 2020. As is the case As with affiliation, the trend is replicated in all sectors, although with special intensity in services, with about 20% fewer unemployed than in the year, up to 532,670 fewer unemployed. They are followed by the group without previous employment, with 95,916 fewer unemployed (-27.3%), and construction, with 60,209 fewer unemployed (-18.9%).

Unemployment among young people under 25 years of age, one of the great scourges of the Spanish labor market, also registered a notable drop, from 38.7% in 2021, with 140,403 fewer unemployed than in 2020, to 222,594 unemployed, the most it falls in a month of December of all the historical series, according to the ministry.

Madrid and the islands, leaders

A territorial analysis reveals that all the autonomous communities gained media affiliates in 2021 compared to 2020, although in relative terms the increases in employment stand out on the islands, where the crisis has been much more intense, and Madrid, where restrictions on activity they were minor. Specifically, in the Canary Islands, occupancy grew by 6.4%, in the Balearic Islands by 5.5% and in Madrid by 4.97%. In absolute terms, the first place is for Madrid, with 160,606 new affiliates, followed by Catalonia (135,469 more contributors); Andalusia (129,596 more members); and the Valencian Community (84,920).

The protagonists of the employment pull, the companies, yesterday celebrated the data although they also warned of the uncertainty and the increase in costs. The Madrid employers, CEIM, called for this exercise to "duly" stimulate job creation after calling "counterproductive" the rise in contribution bases, the "bureaucratization" of equality measures in SMEs and "the incessant increase in public debt, that in the medium and long term will be paid for with taxes, withdrawing resources from the productive economy. Along the same lines, Cepyme called for "caution due to the lower intensity of the recovery expected for 2022 and the strong increase in costs for companies."

In this sense, the president of ATA, Lorenzo Amor, valued the employment data and welcomed the fact that the labor reform approved at the end of 2021 maintains the flexibility mechanisms in hiring. For Amor, the reduction of unemployment by 782,000 jobs and the creation of almost 57,000 new self-employed is "great news" and a "tangible sample" of the effect of the 2012 labor reform. some paths and the business fabric and the real economy for very different ones ”, said the vice president of the CEOE.


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