Coronavirus crisis: Spain’s unemployment spike breaks all records

Coronavirus crisis: Spain’s unemployment spike breaks all records
Photo: AFP
Spain was braced for the devastating effect the coronavirus crisis would have on its economy and the worst was confirmed on Thursday with the publishing of jobless figures during March.

Spain's Social Security department recorded the biggest single drop in the number of contributors month on month in the since records began after 833,979 lost their jobs.

The pandemic “changed the trend” in unemployment figures for March, after only 2,857 workers filled jobless claims in the first 12 days of the month, the ministry said in a statement.

But the data doesn't include those people who have been made temporarily redundant, that is issued with an ERTE, because their employers will still be paying their social security contributions.

However, Spain registered a leap of 302,265 claims for unemployment benefit in March due to the “extraordinary impact” of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, the labour ministry said Thursday.

It is reportedly the biggest monthly increase on jobless claims on record in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy, which has been in a nationwide lockdown since March 14th to try to curb the spread of the virus.

 

The services sector recorded the most job losses, with 206,016 jobless claims in a country where tourism accounts for around 12 percent of national output.

The hardest hit regions were in the south with Andalusia marking the greatest drop in social security contributors (6.64 percent), the Canary Islands (6.24 percent), Murcia (5.07 percent) and the Valencian Community (5.75 percent).

Tourism worldwide has been hammered by the pandemic, as governments imposed travel restrictions and airlines grounded scores of flights.    

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed in Spain hit 3.54 million in March, the labour ministry said.

It's monthly figure is a different measure from the quarterly unemployment rate, which is based on surveys and stood at 13.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to national statistics institute INE.

That is the second highest jobless rate in the eurozone after Greece.   

Since it imposed the lockdown, Spain has tightened restrictions further, with non-essential workers in the nation of around 47 million people asked to stay at home from March 30th.

The limits expire on April 12th but Madrid will likely further extend them as COVID-19 cases continue rising although at a slower pace.

Spain has the world's second-highest death toll after Italy, with the virus so far claiming 9,053 lives, while the number of confirmed cases has passed the 100,000 mark.

Full breakdown of latest unemployment figures HERE

Spain's Social Security department section covering COVID-19 HERE

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