The Spanish labor market broke new records last month, thanks to the biggest fall in unemployment in the month of November and highest number of people in work since the current historical series began. For the ninth month in a row, the ranks of the unemployed fell, a downward trend that has never been seen in the statistics. November is usually a bad month for hiring, which traditionally picks up in December due to the approaching Christmas season. But that trend was bucked this year, and the recovery from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic appears to be continuing apace.
November saw registered unemployment fall by 74,381 workers compared to October, for a total of 3,182,687 jobless – the lowest figure for this month of the year since 2008. The sectors that have most benefited from this improvement are agriculture (-6,072; -3.9%) and industry (-7,689; -2.9%), as well as the service sector (-48,528; -2.1%) and construction (-4,336, -1.7%).
Meanwhile, the number of people signed up to the Social Security system – considered a measure of official job creation – also rose in November for the third month in a row, when the data is analyzed without considering seasonal factors. The number of affiliates hit a new high last month of 19,752,358, up 61,768 on the previous month, and once again reaching figures that exceed those registered before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
There were also 2,021,546 new hires in November, which is the highest figure for this month since the current historical series began. Of these, 282,981 were indefinite contracts, 14% of the total – again, this is the highest figure on record for this category.
It is not, however, all good news for the Spanish economy. While the labor market continues to thrive, forecasts tell a different story. Yesterday, for example, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, revised its predictions for growth downward, from 6.8% to 4.5% for this year, and from 6.6% to 5.5% for the next. The contrast between these pictures is of concern.
The word “historic” has been bandied about regularly regarding the monthly labor market figures by members of the coalition government, run by the Socialist Party (PSOE) with junior partner Unidas Podemos. “We are going to continue with a downward trend despite the month in which we are,” stated Deputy Prime Minister and Labor and Social Economy Minister Yolanda Díaz in the Congress of Deputies on Wednesday. Her optimism was mixed with surprise, given that the data is still good despite an economic context of continued uncertainty due to the pandemic.