Unemployment falls in November for the first time in decades

Opposition points to falling Social Security affiliation as sign of declining active population due to emigration

El País Agencies
Madrid -

Jobless claims fell for the first time ever in November in the current historical series since 1989 as the Spanish economy showed signs of stabilizing after pulling out of its longest recession in decades.

According to figures released Tuesday by the Labor Ministry, the number of people officially registered as unemployed fell 2,475 from October and by 98,909 from the same month a year earlier to 4.808 million.

However, the number of people signed up with the Social Security system declined by 66,829 to 16.293 million. The National Statistics Institute’s Active Population Survey for the second quarter showed the number of people looking for working at just under six billion, with the jobless rate around 26 percent.

Factoring out seasonal factors, the number of jobless claims in November declined by 40,885. The Labor Ministry said the last time the number of people registered as being out of work fell consecutively in the months of August, September, October and November was in 2006 when the country was in the middle of an economic boom.

In response to the figures, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said the country was heading in the right direction but added there was a “long way to go” in the recovery, with unemployment remaining a serious problem. “Spain has pulled out of recession but not the crisis,” he said.

Regrettably, this also reflects many long-time unemployed not signing on"

The economy grew 0.1 percent on a quarterly basis in the period July-September after contracting for nine quarters in a row.

The congressional spokeswoman for the main opposition Socialist Party, Soraya Rodríguez, welcomed the “slight” improvement in the labor market, but highlighted ongoing concerns such as an increase in emigration. “This confirms that the active population is falling, and that most likely the significant number of young people leaving the country to look for work elsewhere is the same number of people who did not sign on as being out of work,” she said. “Regrettably, the situation also reflects many long-time unemployed not signing on or ceasing to be signed on after losing all benefits,” she added.

The quality of the jobs on offer also left a lot to be desired. The number of permanent contracts signed in November accounted for only 7.5 percent of the total, while the number of temporary contracts rose 9 percent from a year earlier.

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