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Spain has 20 million people employed for the first time since 2008

The number of people in work in Spain is the highest in 13 years as the country's unemployment rate fell to under 14 percent in Q3 2021, new government data shows.

A hairdresser blowdries a client's hair after reopening his barber shop in Madrid, on May 4, 2020, for the first time since the beginning of a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease. - Masks became mandatory on public transport today as Spain took its first tentative steps towards a commercial reopening with small businesses accepting customers by appointment and restaurants prepping food for takeaway. Spain's population of nearly 47 million people have been confined to their homes for more than 50 days as the country sought to curb the spread of the deadly virus which has so far claimed 25,428 lives. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)
A hairdresser blowdries a client's hair at a barber shop in Madrid. The bulk of the new jobs are in the services sector, mainly in tourism. Photo: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP

The number of employed workers in Spain has surpassed 20 million workers for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008, after 359,300 jobs were created in the summer months of 2021, 1.8 percent more than in the previous quarter.

In September 2021, the number of people in work in Spain was 20,031 million.

The jobless rate declined to 14.57 percent in the July-September period from 15.26 percent in the previous quarter, national statistics office INE said.

The unemployment rate remains above the 13.78 percent rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019 before the pandemic hit Spain.

The INE jobless figures are based on surveys, which provide a more reliable indication of unemployment as many people who jobless are not eligible for benefits.

The bulk of the new jobs, 377,200, were created in the service sector which is dominated by tourism.

The industrial sector added 63,000 jobs while agriculture shed 49,600 posts.

Before the pandemic hit in spring 2020, Spain was the world’s second-most popular tourist destination after France, and the sector accounted for around 12 percent of the economy.

The Spanish government has said it was hoping to attract around 45 million tourist visits this year, approximately half the figure for 2019.

The Spanish economy contracted by 10.8 percent in 2020, one of the worst results among industrialised countries, but it returned to growth in the second quarter this year.

The statistics office is set to release gross domestic product data for the third quarter on Friday.

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BARCELONA

How much does it really cost to live in Barcelona?

Barcelona is one of the most popular cities for foreigners to move to in Spain, but it's also among the most expensive. Long-time Barcelona resident Esme Fox explains exactly how much you'll need to live in the Catalan capital.

How much does it really cost to live in Barcelona?

Barcelona is made up of 10 different districts and each one of these has its own neighbourhoods, or barris as they’re called in Catalan.

Depending on which district or even which neighbourhood you live in, your cost of living will be very different in everything from rent to a simple cup of coffee.

Generally, the most expensive neighbourhoods are located in the centre and northwest of the city and some of the cheapest can be found in the outer-lying areas or to the east of the centre.

But wherever you live in the city it’s worth keeping in mind that the cost of living in Barcelona has risen by 31 percent in the last five years and rising rental prices are mostly to blame.

According to the annual report by the Metropolitan Area of ​​Barcelona (AMB), the minimum wage needed to be able to live comfortably in Barcelona is €1,435 gross per month.

But of course, it will depend on your living circumstances. According to the report, if you’re living on your own you will need around €1,553 per month, if you’re a single parent you will need €2,220 per month. A couple without children will each need to earn a minimum of €1,054.80 and a couple with two children needs two salaries of €1,547 each.

Map showing the ten districts that make up Barcelona.

Rent

Rent is your biggest expense in Barcelona and unfortunately, rental prices have been spiralling recently due to inflation, the return of tourism after Covid lockdowns and the ever-growing popularity of the city.

Cost of living website Numbeo states that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is €1,031 and a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre is €795.

Those looking for somewhere slightly larger to rent will be forking out €1,672 for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre and €1,299 for a three-bedroom apartment outside the centre.

If you’re prepared to rent a room in a shared apartment with others, this will cut your rental costs considerably. Apartment sharing website Badi states that the average price for a room in a shared apartment in Barcelona costs an average of €500.  

READ ALSO: What you should know about renting an apartment in Barcelona

Groceries

With inflation, the cost of groceries has soared in Barcelona in the past few months. Prices will depend on where you shop. Generally, chain supermarkets such as Mercadona are the cheapest, while larger supermarkets where you can also find important products such as Carrefour and El Corte Inglés are more expensive.

According to Expatistan, the average price for a litre of milk costs €0.93, 12 eggs cost €2.92 and 500g of cheese costs €5.76.

In terms and fruit and vegetables, Numbeo states that the average cost of1kg of tomatoes is €2.16, 1kg of apples costs €1.96 and 1kg of potatoes costs €1.33. While the same website gives the average price for chicken fillets as €7.09 and a bag of rice as €1.26. 

Eating out

Barcelonians love to eat out whether that’s going for tapas with friends, trying out a new international restaurant or going for brunch on a Sunday. It’s an important part of socialising in the Catalan capital, so you’ll want to budget to eat out a least a few times per month. 

Expatistan gives the price of dinner for two in a normal restaurant at €35, while Numbeo states that a combo meal at a chain or fast food place will set you back around €9.

A menú del día (menu of the day) costs an average of €17 in the centre or an expensive area of the city, while you can pay as little as €11 for 3 courses in the cheaper neighbourhoods.

Going out for a coffee will set you back around €2.08. Remember that it’s always cheaper to ask for a café con leche rather than a cappuccino. 

READ ALSO – Moving to Barcelona: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in

Going out, leisure and entertainment

Barcelona has a great entertainment scene, whether you want to listen to live music in small bar, go clubbing until the early hours of the morning, go on a date to the cinema or spend the night at the theatre.

A cinema ticket costs an average of €9, while you’ll pay €42.74 for a monthly gym membership in the city. 

A normal-sized glass of draught or bottled beer at a bar will be around €3 and a cocktail will be around €8-12.

Transport

Public transport in Barcelona is good and affordable. Metros, buses, trams and trains (Rodalies and FGC) all run throughout the city. A 10-journey ticket which can be used on all modes of transport for one zone currently costs €7.65 with the government’s 30 percent reduction, but is normally €11.35.

If you commute, you can get a monthly unlimited journey ticket for one zone called the T-Usual which normally costs €40, but currently is only €20 with government aid.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Barcelona you should be aware of before moving

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