Labour market

November registers record employment and drop in unemployment

Unemployment falls by 8,138 people in Catalonia, with over 3.5m people in jobs in November for the first time

3 min

BarcelonaFor the ninth consecutive month unemployment figures have fallen in Catalonia and in Spain. The covid recovery and the start of the Christmas campaign, as well as Black Friday, among other factors, have caused a record drop in the number of unemployed in Catalonia (8,138). In addition, there has been an increase in the number of people in jobs, which has gone above 3.5 million people in November for the first time, according to data released on Thursday by the Ministry of Labour.

These are especially positive figures when you consider that November is a month in which unemployment traditionally grows (it only fell in 2010, 2014 and 2015) and that in Catalonia there are 369,822 people out of work, the lowest number this month since 2007, just before the banking crisis broke out. "Normally in November unemployment rises because there is an in-between period from October, when the last contracts of the tourist season end, to December, when the Christmas campaign begins," labour law professor at Universitat de Barcelona Jordi Garcia explains.

If we compare the data with a year ago, unemployment has fallen by 23.7%, that is, there are almost 115,000 fewer people registered on the lists of the State Employment Service (SEPE). Catalonia is the second autonomous region where it has fallen the most in relative terms, only behind the Balearic Islands. Therefore, it seems that for the moment the labour market is dodging the impact of the supply crisis, rising inflation and new covid variants.

In Spain the fall in the number of unemployed has been 74,381 people, the largest in a month of November since records began, and now there are 3.18 million unemployed. In this case it is the lowest figure this month since 2008, and over 63,000 people fewer than just before the pandemic broke out in February 2020.

In total number of unemployed, Catalonia registered the fourth largest drop in November, behind Valencia, Madrid and Andalusia. The only regions where unemployment rose are the Balearic Islands and Asturias.

Unemployment has fallen in Barcelona, Girona and Lleida, whereas in Tarragona there has been a minimal increase of twelve people. The service sector has created the most jobs, followed by fa by industry. Unemployment has fallen more among men than among women, and there has been a 9% reduction in youth unemployment (the under-25s). This stands out as it is one of the endemic ills of both the Catalan and Spanish labour markets.

There has also been an improvement in the other unresolved issue: temporary employment. In November 282,472 contracts were registered, of which almost 17% were permanent. Although the figure is still low in comparison with temporary contracts, it is higher than in previous months, when it used to be around 10%. "The only explanation is that this increase comes from public employment," says Garcia.

14.765 new jobs

The number of people in jobs also corroborates the recovery of the labour market. Catalonia has generated 14,765 jobs in November, 135,509 more people are in jobs than twelve months ago. Thus, last month the threshold of 3.5 million people in work was reached. In Spain as a whole, there were 19.7 million people in jobs (109,451 more than in October), which is the highest level since records began, 291,799 above the number of employed in February 2020, before covid-19 broke out.

However, on 1 December there were still more than 125,000 people on furlough. "If those affected on furlough were counted as unemployed, the unemployment figure in Spain would be a little worse than it was in 2019," Garcia clarifies.

The reactions

The Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, has described the data as "incredible after the biggest economic crisis that the country has ever experienced". The general secretary of the Generalitat's Department of Labour, Enric Vinaixa, spoke along the same lines: he called the data "very positive, very optimistic and with some record data". Even so, Vinaixa has advanced that the executive is studying the possibility of offering a third line of aid to workers on furlough with low income, as requested by the unions. Unions UGT and CCOO also emitted a positive verdict, although they warn that "precariousness is increasing" in parallel to the recovery. As for employers, Foment del Treball has celebrated the drop in unemployment and reiterated the need to avoid "regulatory measures that put [the recovery and economic growth] at risk".