ECONOMY

Spain’s labor market creates jobs for first time in seven years

Figures show that 417,574 people signed up to the Social Security system in 2014

An unemployment office in Andalusia.
An unemployment office in Andalusia.PACO PUENTES

After more than five years of crisis and the steady destruction of jobs, the Spanish labor market finally began to recover in 2014. A total of 417,574 people signed up with the Spanish Social Security system last year, meaning the first year of job creation since 2007, according to Social Security figures published on Monday by the Employment Ministry. What’s more, registered unemployment fell by 253,627 people, a decrease of 5.39%, the biggest year-on-year fall seen in the month of December since 1998. The total number of registered unemployed in Spain currently stands at 4,447,711 people.

The last month of 2014 saw the number of people contributing to the Social Security system reach 16,775,214 people, after 79,463 people signed up in December.

By the end of December, the number of people out of work had fallen by 64,405  compared to the previous month

By the end of the month, the number of people out of work had fallen by 64,405 people compared to the previous month. That represents the second-biggest fall in December since the current statistical series began. When seasonal factors are accounted for, registered unemployment was also down, by 5,404 people, marking the fifth consecutive month with falls.

Unemployment has fallen in 12 of Spain’s regions, according to these latest figures. The biggest fall was seen in Andalusia (24,901), followed by Madrid (13,528) and Valencia (10,939). It rose in five regions in December, headed by Galicia (3,286) and Castilla y León (1,274).

But the cost of the crisis has been so great that even with 16.7 million people signed up to the Social Security system, the levels of employment that Popular Party Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy found when he came to power in 2011 (17.2 million) have not been recovered. There are in fact 454,700 fewer jobs in the Spanish economy now than there were in 2011, meaning the government still has work to do ahead of the general elections due to be held later this year.