Spain falls below three million unemployed for the first time since 2008 with indefinite employment skyrocketing

Less than three million people unemployed in Spain for the first time in fourteen years. In May, the news that the governments of recent years have wanted to announce so much was finally produced: breaking down that barrier of three million unemployed that was overcome with the last financial crisis and had not been broken since 2008 despite years of later recovery. Last month, registered unemployment fell by almost 100,000 people, leaving the total number of unemployed at 2,922,991 people. Employment grew by more than 213,643 affiliated workers on average and, as a novelty, permanent contracts reached a maximum number after the labor reform, with 730,427 signed. This is the highest figure in the historical series.

The pull of employment left the total number of people affiliated with Social Security at 20.2 million workers, which represents a new record, after last April that stood out for exceed that bar of 20 million.

Thus, the balance for the month of May is good, in line with other years in terms of job creation and reduction in unemployment, but with the addition of the improvement in the quality of hiring. The months of May are usually favorable for the labor market, with the start of good weather and the start of hiring for the summer. In 2022, May has also been marked by the deployment of the new labor legislation and by the economic uncertainty derived from the war in Ukraine, which has resulted in a situation of high inflation that is worrying and that restricts the purchasing power of workers, especially the most precarious. And yet, the labor market maintains strong growth.

The pace of job creation remains high, at 5% year-on-year, with 965,502 more affiliated workers in the last twelve months. As for unemployment, May maintained an annual reduction of 22.7%, with 858,259 people who have left the SEPE lists in the last year.

By sex, employment grew more among women, with a 5.8% year-on-year increase compared to 4.3% for men. In total, there are more men working affiliated (53%), in absolute terms 10,723,415 men on average compared to 9,509,308 women. Regarding unemployment, it is reduced more among men: with an annual drop of 25% for men and 21% for women. The final figure is 1,740,982 unemployed women and 1,182,009 unemployed men.

The sector that pulled the most employment in May was the hotel industry, with 83,427 more workers in the General Scheme, 6.2% more in the last month. Following in percentage growth, far behind, were Agriculture, Livestock, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (2,600 more workers, +3.5%) and Artistic, Recreational and Entertainment Activities (5,500 more affiliates, +2%).

The self-employed stood at 3.34 million affiliated people, almost stable in the last month, with almost 11,000 more workers (0.32%). In the last year, the growth of self-employment stood at 1.1%, with 35,400 more professionals in the last year.

New record for indefinite contracts: more than 730,000

April, with the entry into force of the new labor reform contracts, it was an explosion never seen before in indefinite contracting, which some believed insurmountable. Almost 700,000 permanent contracts in a single month. Practically half of all contracts signed were indefinite, more than 48% compared to the usual data around 10%.

May pulverized the figure with a new record: 730,427 permanent contracts, "the highest figure in a month of the entire historical series", highlights the Ministry of Labor of Yolanda Díaz. In this case, they accounted for 44.5% of the total contracts signed, so again almost one out of every two contracts signed was stable.

This total of 730,427 permanent contracts is divided into: 291,308 full-time contracts, 264,524 permanent discontinuous contracts and 174,595 part-time contracts.

Almost 80% permanent affiliates and 20% temporary

The indefinite hiring triggered in recent months is already noticeable in the fixed image of the employment relationship that people affiliated with Social Security have. The Ministry led by José Luis Escrivá reports that in May, "79% of affiliates have indefinite contracts, which is 8 points more than usual before the pandemic."

Thus, 80% of affiliates have indefinite contracts, broken down into 74% of ordinary indefinite ones and 5% of discontinuous permanent affiliates. The average from 2015 to 2021, shown by the Ministry for comparison, reflects 68% of affiliates with ordinary indefinite contracts and 3% with discontinuous fixed contracts. In total, 71% of indefinite, those 8 points below what was achieved this May.

On the opposite side, the temporality of workers is reduced. It falls to 21%, a much lower rate than usual. Between 2015 and 2021, the figure stood at 29%, recalls Social Security.

If workers with indefinite contracts increase in general, the Ministry highlights the case of young people. They were the most affected by temporary contracts and are now the most benefited from the great boom in fixed contracts. Among those under 30 years of age, “the percentage of workers with an indefinite contract has risen by more than 20 points compared to the average for this month, going from 39% to 60%”, shows Social Security, again with the 2022 comparison and the average from 2015 to 2021.

Young people under 30 years of age had 51% affiliates with ordinary indefinite contracts in May (compared to the previous average 37%) and 9% of discontinuous fixed affiliates (compared to the previous 2%), indicates the Social Security.

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