Business 02/02/2021

Unemployment rises by 2% in January in Catalonia, past 500,000 mark

The vast majority of the new unemployed were in the service industry

Paula Clemente
2 min

The labour market is not looking good. January has left a further 10,470 people unemployed in Catalonia, taking the total to 508,081. This means a 2.1% month-on month rise, slightly lower than December's but significantly higher than the increases observed during the autumn. Compared to a year ago, there are 114,399 more unemployed, and this increase (29%) is the largest since the summer. It leaves Catalonia once again with over 500,000 unemployed, numbers unseen since the 2008 crisis, and which took almost ten years to leave behind.

According to data published on Tuesday by the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy, only in Andalusia has unemployment grown more month on month. At at province level, Barcelona's rise in unemployment is second highest, with Madrid's top.

In Spain as a whole, the number of unemployed people has grown by 76,216 people, that is, there is 1.9% more unemployed than in December and 21.8% more than in January 2020. In total, there are 3.96 million unemployed in Spain, a figure that is dangerously close to the threshold of 4 million unemployed. However, the ministry in question has stressed that it is usual for unemployment to grow in January (a drop in unemployment in January has not been observed since records began) and that in the specific case of 2021, has been the fourth January with the lowest increase in unemployment since 2008.

It should be noted, however, that this radiography does not include workers who are temporarily unemployed or working but reduced hours as a result of the furlough scheme. According to data also published Tuesday by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, there are currently about 739,000 people in this situation in Spain, over 35,000 workers more than the previous month.

Employment situation in Catalonia

The update of the data for the month of January gives an outline the situation of the Catalan labour market. For example, 54% of the unemployed are women and most jobs have been lost in the service sector. This trend is usual; however, whilst in January 2020 there were 287,000 unemployed in the service sector, there now are around 375,000. In fact, out of the over 10,000 new unemployed in Catalonia this January, 85% belong to the service sector.