is the one that increased the most in 2021

The year 2021 registered one of the highest growth in employment, of 840,700 workers, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA). This is the largest increase since 2005, in the midst of a bubble and marked by the regularization of thousands of migrants. However, the leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, has accused the Government of "make up" the statistics with public contracts and has ensured that "private employment in Spain has not grown". It is not true. Private employment grew in 2021 and, in fact, it did so much more than public employment.

2021 closed with 840,700 more jobs and unemployment fell to the lowest level since 2008

2021 closed with 840,700 more jobs and unemployment fell to the lowest level since 2008

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The EPA data published this Thursday show the evolution of employment in the last quarter of the year, which ended 2021. Between October and December, the number of workers increased by 162,500 people in the private sector and fell by 8,500 employed in the public, compared to the previous quarter.

If we look at what happened in the year as a whole, in the last 12 months, the sector that pulled the most employment -by far- was the private sector: it increased by 744,300 workers (+4.66%), while the public sector increased in 96,400 employed (+2.85%).

Pablo Casado twists true data from the EPA, those that show that there is still employment to recover after the crisis unleashed by the pandemic, but with false statements like the previous one ("private employment in Spain has not grown").

The private sector has recovered a lot of employment, but it still has a little to recover from the situation prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus: there are now about 4,200 fewer employees than at the end of 2019, the last comparable pre-pandemic quarter. In contrast, employment in the public sector is higher than before COVID, at 222,200 workers.

This data leads the leader of the PP to affirm: "Why does the EPA come out like this?" –in reference to his positive data– "because more than 200,000 civil servant positions have been created. If civil servant positions are created that come out of the Budget, we continue to have the same macroeconomic problem that I have been denouncing." "There is a government devoting the public budget to the makeup of statistics," he has sentenced.

The public employment that increased belongs to the Communities

The leader of the PP says that public contracts serve to "make up" statistics. It must be remembered that public workers demand more personnel in order to be able to offer citizens a good provision of services in many areas, such as Social Security, the SEPE, Primary Care, social and dependency services and education, among many others. The public employee unions denounce the great deficit of existing personnel, especially after the austerity policies of the last financial crisis that greatly reduced the public workforce, without renewals of the people who retired.

In any case, Pablo Casado accuses the Sánchez government of "make-up" of public employment statistics. However, public employment that depends on the central Administration is below that prior to the pandemic. There are 17,500 fewer public workers compared to the end of 2019, according to the EPA.

On the other hand, 2021 ended with 227,500 more public workers who depended on regional administrations, from the Autonomous Communities, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 and with 3,600 more local public workers, dependent on the municipalities.

During the pandemic, health and education have been two sectors reinforced by the effects and needs arising from the pandemic, both dependent on the Autonomous Communities. Employment in health and social services added almost 150,000 workers since the end of 2019 and education, almost 120,000. The unions of both activities claim that the reinforcements of personnel are not eliminated, since in many cases they were already necessary before the pandemic.

There is still employment to recover

Employment is advancing at a very high rate, much more than in other times of growth, and unemployment has been achieved –which is already at its lowest since 2008– not soaring as much as in other crises. But that does not mean that everything is done. There is still an impact on the labor market due to the coronavirus crisis, a situation that has not ended, as the contagion data shows at the moment and which is also evident in lower activity in sectors such as tourism, commerce and hospitality, for example.

At the moment there are more than 100,000 people in ERTE and another 100,000 who receive the self-employed cessation of activity benefit due to covid. In many cases these people are working, but not with the same intensity as before the pandemic. That is reflected in the number of hours worked, which continues to rise but is still 3.8% down at the end of 2019.

Employment in number of workers is already on average above pre-covid levels, and some sectors have been growing a lot in employment for months, such as information services. But there are other activities that continue to be affected by this crisis, such as accommodation services, hospitality and commerce, among others, which in Spain have a large working mass. The hotel industry, for example, recovered 218,300 workers in 2021, but still has 176,700 fewer employed people than at the end of 2019.

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