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UNEMPLOYMENT

Jobless rate dips after Easter tourism push

Spain registered a very slight drop in unemployment in March but there are still more than five million unemployed people in the country.

Jobless rate dips after Easter tourism push
Protestors complain about austerity cuts in Spain. The sign above reads "Don´t sink the country". Photo: Miguel.Aguilera

New figures from Spain's Employment Ministry show that the total number of unemployed people in the country fell by 4,979 in March.

In March last year, by contrast, 38,769 people joined the jobless queue.

The figures released on Tuesday reveal this was the first time since 2008 that Spain's jobless rate fell in March.

The drop was 0.1 percent, El Pais reported.

At the same time, 30,528 people more people registered as working in March — a fact that El Pais put down to tourism and service jobs stemming from the Easter holidays. 

El Economista also noted the effect that Easter Week had on these figures. Last year, Easter was at the beginning of April while this year it arrived in March. 
 
Year on year, unemployment is up 5.99 percent or by 284,376 people.
 
Last month's dip followed two months of growth in registered unemployment, which topped five million for the first time in February as Spain struggled with the fallout from the collapse of a decade-long property boom in 2008.

The number of people registering as being out of work in March fell in the services sector but was up in construction, agriculture and industry.

After smoothing out seasonal blips, the number of registered unemployed in March stood at 4,857,929 — 6,212 fewer than in the previous month.

A broader, quarterly household survey by the National Statistics Institute provides the official unemployment rate, which hit 26.02 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, a record high since the re-birth of Spanish democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government had predicted the economy will contract by 0.5 percent this year and grow by 1.2 percent in 2014 but last month it said it would have to revise its forecast.

It has imposed steep spending cuts and tax rises, aimed at saving €150 billion ($194 billion) between 2012 and 2014, measures that have prompted mass street protests and added to job losses. A total of 969,627 employment contracts were signed in March, or 85,000 less than a year ago.

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ECONOMY

Unemployment in Spain hits four million for first time since 2016

The number of people in Spain registered as unemployed surpassed four million for the first time in five years in February, government figures showed Tuesday, as pandemic restrictions hit the country's tourism-dependent economy.

Unemployment in Spain hits four million for first time since 2016
Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

Jobless claims rose by nearly 45,000 last month over last month to hit 4,008,789, the labour ministry said, the fifth consecutive monthly increase.

The rise is due to the impact of “severe restrictions imposed to combat the third wave of the pandemic,” the ministry said in a statement.

The last time the number of jobless in Spain rose above four million was in April 2016.

Spain’s regional governments, which are responsible for health, have imposed various measures to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including shutting down bars and restaurants and nightly curfews which have hit the hospitality sector hard.

A broader, quarterly household survey by the national statistics institute INE provides the official unemployment rate, which hit 3.7 million or 16.1 percent at the end of December.

Both the labour ministry and the INE figures do not include the roughly 755,000 people benefitting from a government coronavirus furlough scheme as of the end of last year.

The Spanish government says it has spent €40 billion ($48 billion) since the start of the pandemic to finance the furlough scheme and help the self-employed.

Spain’s economy contracted by 11 percent in 2020, one of the worst performers in the eurozone, with its key tourism sector battered by the
pandemic.

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