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First quarter unemployment falls for first time since 2015 and now stands at under 16%

Thursday 29 April 2021

In seasonally adjusted terms, unemployment fell by 4.65% in the first three months of the year.

Unemployment rose by 341,000 in the last twelve months, up 10.29%. This is six points less than in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The impact from the third wave of the pandemic and adverse weather conditions have slowed the economic recovery and this was reflected in the employment figures, which fell by 137,500 in the first quarter. This is a rate of -0.7% on the fourth quarter of last year.

Although a fall in employment is usual in the first quarter of any year, this reduction is larger than any other in the period 2015-2019. Nonetheless, it is far lower than the average fall in employment between 2009 and 2013 due to the effect of the economic measures taken to protect jobs. In fact, in seasonally adjusted terms, the rate of change in employment stands at 0.49%. This is an increase of 95,000 jobs.

The number of people in work stands at 19,206,800, a figure that is comparable with that recorded in the second quarter of 2018. Employment fell by 474,500 in year-on-year terms, a reduction of 2.41%. This is lower than the rate seen in the final three quarters of 2020.

The number of inactive individuals rose by 195,300 in the first quarter, as a result of the reduced mobility. This figure rose by 240,900 in year-on-year terms following a steep decline in the second half of 2020 as economic activity began to recover.

The total number of effective hours worked fell by 1.56% in this quarter as a result of the holiday period, the impact from storm Filomena and the increase in temporary layoff schemes (Spanish acronym: ERTE). In year-on-year terms, the number of effective hours worked fell by 3.47%.

According to the Labour Force Survey, 11.2% of those in work did so from home for more than half of the days. This is 9.9% higher than in the previous quarter and more than twice the figure of 4.8% recorded in 2019.

Sectors and autonomous regions

By sector, the fall in employment was widespread across all sectors, with the exception of agriculture, which recorded an increase of 15,800 jobs in the quarter. The largest decrease was posted in the services sector, with 83,400 fewer people in work, followed by the industrial sector, with 51,500 fewer jobs.

In year-on-year terms, the number of jobs fell across the board in all sectors; especially in the service sector, with a reduction of 344,500 jobs; followed by the industrial sector, with 127,100 fewer jobs; and the construction sector, with 16,000 fewer jobs.

By autonomous region, performance was uneven in this quarter. The most jobs were created in the autonomous regions of Madrid, with 40,400 more jobs; followed by Catalonia, with 33,300; and Cantabria, with 1,200. The regions where the most jobs were lost include the Region of Valencia, with 40,200 fewer jobs; followed by Andalusia, with 30,800 fewer jobs; and the Canary Islands, with 27,400.

A fall in employment was recorded in all autonomous regions in the last year, except for Castile-La Mancha, where employment rose by 13,200; Murcia, where it rose by 8,100; and Melilla, with an increase of 3,000 jobs. The regions posting the smallest downturns in employment were the Canary Islands, with 130,000 fewer jobs; the Region of Valencia, with 80,500; and Catalonia, with 77,300 fewer jobs.

In the first quarter of the year, the temporary employment rate fell by eight-tenths to stand at 23.8%. The fall in employment in these months was concentrated among workers on a temporary contract, down 168,600, compared with an increase of 31,300 workers on a permanent contract. In year-on-year terms, the largest number of jobs were also lost among temporary workers, down 7.49% or 310,400 fewer jobs.

The reduction in employment in the first quarter was mainly felt among men, with a reduction of 84,800 jobs, compared to the 52,800 fewer jobs among women. In year-on-year terms, the fall in employment was also mainly among men, with 276,200 fewer men in work. The number of women in work fell by 198,300.

Unemployment

The number of unemployed fell by 65,800 in the first quarter, down 1.77% on the fourth quarter of 2020 to stand at a total of 3,653,900 unemployed. In seasonally adjusted terms, unemployment fell by 4.65%.

The unemployment rate fell to 15.98% in the first three months of the year, with a reduction of 0.14 points in the quarter and an increase of 1.58 points year-on-year.

Unemployment fell last quarter in the services sector only, with 97,500 fewer unemployed. It rose slightly in the agriculture sector, with 3,100 more unemployed, and the industrial sector, with 1,400 more. Long-term unemployment (those who lost their job one year ago) rose to 19,100, while the number of first-time job-seekers rose to 7,000.

In year-on-year terms, the largest increase was recorded among those workers who lost their job over one year ago, with 249,700 more unemployed. By sector, unemployment rose in the agricultural sector, with 23,300 more unemployed; the construction sector, with 18,600 more; and the industrial sector, with 18,200 more unemployed.

By autonomous region, performance was uneven between January and March; with reductions in Madrid, with 50,300 fewer unemployed; Catalonia, with 38,200 fewer; and Andalusia, with 19,300 fewer unemployed. On the other hand, the largest increases were posted in Galicia, with 15,700 more unemployed; the Basque Country, with 9,500 more; and Murcia, with 8,700 more unemployed.

In year-on-year terms, unemployment rose in all autonomous regions except Extremadura, with 9,400 fewer unemployed; Castile-La Mancha, with a reduction of 5,400 unemployed; and Asturias, with 2,100 fewer unemployed. The largest increases were posted in Catalonia, with 88,100 more unemployed; followed by Madrid, with 56,800 more; and the Canary Islands, with 57,400 more unemployed.

The number of unemployed in the quarter fell more among women (-37,700) than among men (-28,100). In year-on-year terms, unemployment rose more among women (up 204,900) than among men (up 136,000). The unemployment rate among women stands at 18.13%, more than four points higher than the unemployment rate among men, which stands at 14.07%.

In terms of young people, a group hit especially hard by unemployment, there was a fall of 21,400 in the first quarter of the year. In the last twelve months, unemployment among those aged 16-24 rose by 64,000. The youth unemployment rate in the first quarter stood at 39.5%.

Non official translation