Many kilometers separate Soria from Cádiz, but in labor terms the distance is even greater. The small province Castilian-Leon, the least populated of Spain with only 88,000 inhabitants, had a unemployment rate at the close of 2018 of 4.35%, similar to Norway's and markedly lower than the Swedish rate. 900 kilometers further south, more than a quarter of the Cadiz job seekers do not find it: the unemployment rate is 27.35%, six times more than in Soria.
The map of employment in Spain It has always shown huge regional disparities. If the real estate bubble smoothed some rough spots, the crisis and the recovery have brought back the two economic speeds.
Soria, with an unemployment rate that places it at conventionally considered levels of full employment, is the only province in Spain where the number of unemployed is lower than it was in mid-2007, the best time in the labor market in recent history . However, due to the loss of population, Soria has also lost employment in that period of just over a decade. There is, instead, five provinces where all the jobs lost during the crisis have been recovered: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Guadalajara, Balearic Islands, Malaga and Las Palmas, besides the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
The common denominator is that they are demographically thriving provinces where the active population has increased. That is, there is more employment than before the crisis began, but also more unemployed. In fact, the unemployment rate is still higher than in 2007 in all of them.
In fact, the Canary Islands are paradoxically leaders in both unemployment and job recovery. The two Canarian provinces are among those only five where employment has recovered above pre-crisis levels: Santa Cruz of Tenerife the employment marked a record of 444,800 people in the fourth quarter, 14,300 more than the maximum that marked in 2007. In Las Palmas the record of 477,200 jobs occurred in the third quarter, but in the fourth it remained slightly above the maximum of 2007. The demographic dynamics play a trick: the pull of tourism allows employment to be created, but the influx of citizens Looking for work keeps unemployment high.
The province where employment has increased most in relative terms since the highest pre-crisis is Guadalajara, where employment is at record levels and there are 14,300 jobs more than in its maximum of the first quarter of 2008, according to the EPA. The province of La Mancha has taken advantage of Madrid's magnet effect, both for the people who live in Guadalajara and work in the province of Madrid and for the economic activity linked to the capital that develops around the A-2 motorway. This province has, in fact, the highest activity rate of the State, 67%, with unemployment at 11.69%.
Balearics, on the other hand, has shown the greatest growth in employment in 2018, and is the one that has exceeded the levels of pre-crisis employment in absolute terms in absolute terms. In the third quarter of 2007 it had 541,300 jobs and it has set a record of 621,700 jobs in the third quarter of this year. Even with the fall of the fourth quarter to 556,100 jobs by the end of the tourist season, it is still at levels higher than before the crisis. In addition, it shows, together with Navarra, some of the best data on the labor market: an activity rate of almost 63% with a 10.9% unemployment rate.
By contrast, in Orense or Castellón employment is still 18% below the bubble, and in many provinces in the interior employment losses are more than 10%. Paradoxically, some of them are among those with the least unemployment, such as Huesca and Teruel. The interior Spain supports the loss of jobs at the expense of migratory flows (which are always of people of working age) to Madrid, Barcelona or the islands, all with activity rates of over 60%.
The fifth province where all the jobs lost during the crisis have been recovered Malaga, which closed the year with a record of 650,400 jobs, 3,200 more than it had at its peak in 2007.
The provinces with less unemployment
There are nine provinces where unemployment is below 10%: Álava, Cantabria, Gipuzkoa, Navarra, Segovia, Huesca, Lugo, Soria and Teruel. But they are not the most dynamic: in all but Navarre, the activity rate (percentage of the working-age population that is looking for a job) is below the national average.
This helps to contain the unemployment rate: if a good part of the population is retired (or does not look for a job), they are not unemployed, but neither do they work. Thus, it is not the same the 9.99% unemployment in Navarra (always in the top per capita income positions), where 59% of the working-age population is active, than the 9.16% of Lugo, where the activity rate is 52%.
On the negative side of the balance, they exceed 20% unemployment, in addition to Cádiz, the rest of Andalusia provinces except Malaga and Almeria, the two Extremadura, Ceuta, Melilla and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. If the provinces with the least are located in the northern zone, those with more unemployment are even more concentrated geographically. The situation is more serious in Cádiz and Jaén, with activity rates of 54% and 52%, than in Seville or Las Palmas, where it is around 60%.