CORONAVIRUS FALLOUT

Job creation in Spain improves in October despite second coronavirus wave

Social Security registrations grew on the strength of education hirings but are still far below the number recorded before the pandemic hit the country

An unemployment office in Madrid in early September.
An unemployment office in Madrid in early September.Óscar Cañas / Europa Press

Despite a new surge in coronavirus cases that has triggered fresh restrictions on economic activity, Spain’s employment figures improved in October. There were 113,974 new registrations with the Social Security system, considered a measure of job creation.

But there were also nearly 50,000 more people who filed for unemployment benefits, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Social Security and Labor ministries. The unemployment rate now stands at 16.26%, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).

The October spike represents the sixth month in a row that the Spanish economy has managed to recover some of the jobs lost due to the coronavirus crisis. September was also a good month for job creation, but there is still a long way to go before Spain makes up for the approximately one million jobs that were destroyed in March and April, when the country was under a strict coronavirus lockdown that brought the economy nearly to a halt.

New hirings were driven by the start of the academic year

There are now 18.99 million contributors to Spain’s safety net –a figure that includes 633,000 furloughed workers on the government’s ERTE scheme. That is still well below the 19.25 million who were paying into the system in February, right before the pandemic hit the country.

The job recovery is not only visible in the six-month run of Social Security gains. It is also observable in the seasonally adjusted data, which factors in the effects of harvesting seasons or the start of the academic year. In this case, both registered unemployment and Social Security registrations show positive trends: the former is going down while the second one is rising.

New Social Security registrations were driven by the start of the academic year, which led to 134,000 hirings in the education sector, while hospitality – the big loser of the crisis – shed a further 85,000 jobs. There were also fewer workers on furlough (633,000) than in September, when the figure reached 728,000.

English version by Susana Urra.

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