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Summer jobs bring Spanish unemployment to six-year low

Spain's jobless rate slipped to 20 percent in the second quarter of 2016, as the tourism boom provided much needed seasonal work.

Summer jobs bring Spanish unemployment to six-year low
Spain's tourism boom creates summer jobs. Photo: AFP

The official figures by Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) were published on Thursday revealed the lowest unemployment rate in nearly six years and brought a boost to acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as he struggled to stay in office.

The number of people out of work fell by 216,700 during the three month period of April to June as summer work in the tourism industry swelled the ranks of the employed.

Acting Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said he was confident the figure would drop below 20 percent by the year's end and Spain would have 20 million people employed as planned by 2019, up from 18 million at the moment.

The figures represented the lowest jobless level since the third quarter of 2010 and down from 21 percent in the previous quarter but Spain’s unemployment rate still remains the second-highest in the European Union after Greece.

The youth jobless rate – for those under 25 years of age – remained at a staggering 46 percent.

Spain is enjoying a record year in tourism figures as holidaymakers choose Spain over trouble spots such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia.

But although the service sector fuelled employment, many of the jobs were only on short-term contracts.

The UGT union warned in a statement that the new jobs in the second quarter were “temporary, low-quality and low-paid.”

Among the 252,700 salaried jobs created during that time, according to INE, around two-thirds are temporary.

And the second quarter rise in jobs is not as strong as it was at the same time in 2014 and 2015, when more than 400,000 posts were created.

Employment creation remains one of the key concerns for Spaniards as the nation struggles into its eighth month without a government following two inconclusive general elections.

King Felipe VI is holding talks with political party leaders this week in the hope that a compromise can be struck to form a coalition government and avoid a third election.

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POLITICS

Spanish senate gives green light to new trans law

The majority of the Senate gave approval on Wednesday February 8th to the 'trans law', however, it will still have to go back to the Congress of Deputies before being finalised.

Spanish senate gives green light to new trans law

The Ley de Trans recognises gender self-determination and develops a series of measures to guarantee the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

The bill passed with 144 votes in favour, 108 against and 2 abstentions. 

READ ALSO – IN DEPTH: What is Spain’s ‘Trans Law’ and why is it controversial?

The Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, has celebrated this new step in, her words, one of the “most important laws of the legislature” and has ensured that it “effectively reaches every corner of the country” despite the fact that there is “resistance to its application”. 

After the long debate on Wednesday, no new amendments have been added.  

In a sentence, the new Trans Law simplifies the gender self-identification process. It states that any person over 16 years old will be able to legally change their name and gender on official ID documents by simply completing a basic administrative procedure.

According to Montero, the law is a recognition of “trans people’s right to be who they are, without witnesses, without any obligation to undergo hormone treatment… and without a medical report that must say that they are sick”. 

Gender self-identification will also be available to children between 12 and 14 years old, and children under the age of 12 will have the right to change their name on their formal identification documents.

The draft bill was originally approved by the Congress of Deputies at the end of December 2022, but had to be passed on to the senate for the green light. 

It must now, however, return back to the Congress of Deputies for final approval as some “technical issues” have been incorporated into the text, such as the definitive elimination of any reference to intra-gender violence, which occurs between same-sex couples.

Opposition

PP and Vox both vetoed the law saying that it will cause “irreparable damage” to children and adolescents, and will generate consequences that can be “very serious”, especially for women victims of sexist violence.

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