Unemployment falls for the second month in a row and drops below the half-million mark

The number of unemployed remains 6.2% higher than a year ago

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Detail of a poster inside an office of the Catalan Employment Service (SOY).

BarcelonaUnemployment fell in April for the second consecutive month in Catalonia and stood at 497,185 unemployed, according to data released Wednesday by the Ministry of Labour. In total, last month there were 8,715 fewer unemployed Catalans compared to March, a reduction of 1.72%, although compared to a year ago there are 29,375 - or 6.28% - more.

Statewide, unemployment fell by 0.99% compared to the previous month, to 3,910,628 people. This represents a fall of 39,012 fewer workers looking for work. However, compared to April last year, the figures have not yet recovered and there are still 79,425 more people out of work, a year-on-year increase of 2.07%.

In absolute figures, Catalonia was the second community with the strongest reduction in unemployment, only surpassed by Galicia, where the number of unemployed fell by more than 9,000 people. At the other extreme, the Canary Islands, Valencia and Cantabria were the only three regions where the number of people out of work rose.

By demarcation, Barcelona headed the spanish ranking of decreases with almost 6,300 unemployed less than in March. In Tarragona, it fell by 1,086 workers, in Girona by 982, and in Lleida by 379.

Improvement in service industry

Industry and services, the two sectors that generate most employment in Catalonia, are at the same time those that have seen the greatest fall in the number of unemployed workers. Specifically, the services sector closed April with 7,387 fewer unemployed, while in industry there were 1,068. Construction also reduced unemployment by 417 people and the primary sector (agriculture, fishing, mining) by 265 people.

Of the total number of unemployed workers, 116,590 were foreigners, which represents more than a fifth of the total number of unemployed in Catalonia. The services sector registered the highest number of unemployed foreigners, with almost 76,000, followed by construction with just over 11,000.

High temporality is maintained

In April almost 198,000 labour contracts were signed in Catalonia, about a thousand less than in March, month that coincided with Easter. Of these, the vast majority were temporary, more than 166,000, while only 31,000 were permanent, a figure that also includes those cases of workers who already had temporary jobs and were hired on a permanent basis by their companies.