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Finding a job won't stop you being poor: EU

Published: 22 Jan 2014 17:27 GMT+01:00

Just one in three unemployed Spaniards aged from 18 to 59 who find a job will manage to free themselves from poverty within a year, the EU's new 2013 Employment and Social Developments in Europe Review reveals.

The 35 percent figure for Spain is similar to that of Greece while only Romania and Bulgaria present a bleaker outlook.

The EU study argues poverty among people of working age is one of the most visible features of the continent's economic crisis. But lower unemployment rates aren't necessarily a solution to this problem, especially because a lot of the jobs being created are part time.

While Employment Ministry figures show unemployment in Spain has fallen in recent months, the vast majority of new contracts in the country are for temporary work.

The number of people registered as unemployed in Spain fell by 107,570 in December, and some 1,290,853 new work contracts were signed in that month.  Permanent contracts, however, only made up 6.49 percent of that total, against 7.31 percent in December 2012.  

"Unfortunately we can't say that finding a job means a decent standard of living," Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, stressed at a press conference marking the release of the report. 

"We need to pay attention not only to job creation, but also to the quality of jobs, in order to achieve a sustainable recovery that will not only reduce unemployment but also poverty".

Around half of the people who found work in the EU in 2008 had escaped from poverty by 2009, the new EU report shows. Sweden and Portugal had the highest rates at 65 percent.

The report also noted women continued to work far fewer hours than men, 

This leads to "diminished career opportunities, lower pay and lower prospective pensions, underutilization of human capital and thus lower economic growth and prosperity," the EU said. 

The reported noted, however, that once women entered the workforce in Spain, they tended to work longer hours.

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

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