Labour market

Timid drop in unemployment marks best February data since 2008

The number of unemployed fell by 142 people last month in Catalonia and by 11,394 in Spain

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BarcelonaAfter rising in January, traditionally a bad month for the labour market due to the end of Christmas contracts, unemployment has returned to the path of continuous decline that it had been on since March 2021. According to data from the Ministry of Labour published on Wednesday, in February 142 fewer people were out of a job in Catalonia (0.4% fewer than in January), leaving the total at 371,660. In the Spanish State, the drop was 11,394 people (-0.36%). This is the best unemployment data for a month of February in Catalonia since 2008, when the number of unemployed was almost 291,000 people.

If we compare the data with February 2021, when the pandemic continued to punish the economy severely, there are now 140,630 fewer unemployed people in Catalonia (-27.45%), whereas in Spain as a whole over 897,000 have found work.

Compared to before the arrival of covid, in February 2019, there are now 25,000 fewer unemployed Catalans. The data, therefore, shows that the labour market has already overcome the pandemic, at least quantitatively. As for the number of people in jobs, the figure is also good: it is up by 21,247 people and 144,521 more jobs have been created than a year ago (4.3%).

The slight decrease in unemployment in Catalonia has occurred basically in Tarragona province, where the number of unemployed fell by 491 people, while in Barcelona, Girona and Lleida provinces unemployment increased. In Spain, unemployment fell in nine regions with respect to January. Madrid region (-15,770), the Canary Islands (-2,022) and, in third position, the Balearic Islands (-1,931) led the way.

22% of permanent contracts

As was the case in January, a new record was set for the number of permanent contracts signed last month, 22% of the total. After the January data was published, the Spanish government already claimed this increase was the result of the new labour reform.

According to data from the Ministry of Labour, the greatest increase in percentages of permanent contracts compared to before the pandemic occurred in the agriculture and construction sectors at a national level, while in February construction and services, one of Catalonia and Spains' economic engines, once again stood out.