Spain records lowest unemployment level since 2007

Conor Faulkner
Conor Faulkner - [email protected]
Spain records lowest unemployment level since 2007

A surprisingly strong year for the Spanish job market in 2022 means that Spain enters the new year with the lowest level of unemployment since before the 2008 financial crisis.


Unemployment in Spain fell by 268,252 people in 2022 and finished the year with a total of 2,837,635 unemployed, a decrease of 8.6 percent and the lowest level since 2007.

Unemployment fell by 43,727 in December 2022, a fall of 1.5 percent, which took the rate below 3 million and continued a surprisingly strong year for the Spanish employment market amid prolonged economic uncertainty, born first from the pandemic and then the war in Ukraine.


In fact, despite those global pressures, 2022 turned out to be a rather good year for employment in Spain. 

The numbers

471,360 jobs were created in 2022, and there are now 20,296,271 Spaniards registered in the Social Security system. 

READ ALSO: Spain’s labour market buoyed by sharp drop in temporary contracts

Back in April, the Spanish labour market first surpassed the 20 million threshold for the first time, and then a few months later, in June, the total number of unemployed dipped below 3 million for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.

Yet despite the positive trends, and the 12,640 new social security contributors in December 2022, that year-on-year figure pales in comparison to the figure (72,553) from December 2021, which could suggest a general economic slowdown. 

Nonetheless, Spain's government are unsurprisingly buoyant about the figures, with Minister for Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, posting on Twitter that "the latest enrolment data for 2022 shows that the year that has just ended has been very positive for employment, despite the complicated international situation."


Labour reform

So, how could the Spanish job market improve so steadily despite international economic stresses and warnings of a recession?

Some in the Spanish media have suggested that Spain's landmark labour reform, passed last year after a PP member accidentally voted for it, is behind the job market boon.

The thrust of the labour market reform, which addressed issues such as collective bargaining, restrictions for subcontracting companies and new retraining schemes, helped to resolve the rampant insecurity in Spain's labour market, which had the highest number of temporary contracts in Europe.

This push to secure the labour market seems to be bearing fruit, according to the figures. In 2022, the total number of permanent contracts signed almost reached five million (4,867,726), according to the Ministry of Labour. Over nine million fewer temporary contracts (9,069,604) were signed in 2022 than in 2019, the year before the pandemic.

2022 was also a good year for female workers, with record highs. The job market added 267,109 female social security contributors, adding to a new record number of 9,559,179 women, and also the highest percentage (47.1 percent) since records began.

Male social security contributors, on the other hand, increased on average by 204,251 employed, up to 10,737,092 total workers.


This job market growth also appears to be spread around Spain, with employment increases above 3.5 percent in eight regions: Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia, Madrid and Murcia.


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