Spain’s jobless rate registers historic fall in 2016

Official figures show the number of people registered as looking for work fell by 390,534 last year

Manuel V. Gómez

The Spanish labor market maintained its pace of recovery in 2016, with 540,655 jobs created in twelve months as measured by Social Security affiliations. This is a 3.12% rise from 2015, and slightly below the 3.18% growth posted the previous year.

Workers at the Volkswagen factory in Pamplona.
Workers at the Volkswagen factory in Pamplona.Luis Sevillano

Registered unemployment figures were also very good in 2016, with a fall of 390,534 in the number of people officially registered as out of work at the country's job offices, which represents the biggest drop in recorded history according to the Labor Ministry.

The good news about job creation is dampened by the fact that many are short-term positions

Nearly 20 million job contracts were signed from January to December, although many of these were short-term and linked to seasonal campaigns. The year ended with 17.8 million workers contributing to the Social Security system, while the number of jobless claims at national unemployment offices dropped to 3.7 million.

The job market also reflects the good pace of domestic consumption as an engine of economic activity in Spain this past year. Retail (80,189 new jobs) and hospitality (77,737) hired the largest number of new workers, although most sectors increased their workforce.

Only three sectors shed jobs in 2016, with the finance sector, which is undergoing a restructuring process, losing 2,679 workers.

The pace of job creation slowed down slightly in the second quarter to below 3%, but it picked up again to end 2016 at 3.12%.

New hirings in early 2017


The upcoming winter sales campaign is expected to create over 93,000 new jobs, representing a 6% rise from the previous year, according to a forecast made by recruiting firm Adecco. Most of the new hirings will take place in retail and hospitality.

English version by Susana Urra.

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