According to government statistics, 4.7 million people are registered as out of work.
202,172 - The number of people registered as unemployed in the province of Malaga at the end of 2013.
3.87% - The reduction in unemployment in the province of Malaga in 2013.
4.701,338 - The number of people registered as unemployed in Spain at the end of 2013.
3.04% - The reduction in unemployment in Spain in 2013.
Analysts and government shared optimism at the end of last week when unemployment figures for 2013 were revealed as the best (or “least bad” as they were described in Spanish) since the beginning of the crisis.
In the province of Malaga the year-on-year result was a fall of 3.87 per cent leaving a total of 202,712 people registered as unemployed, 8,160 fewer than in 2012.
The overall picture, however, is incomplete without the number of new contributors to the social security system, to establish how many of those who left the unemployment registers actually did so because they found employment, and not for another reason.
The results here were also positive, with an increase of 1.31 per cent in workers paying into the system, 6,375 more than at the end of 2012.
Experts have stressed that the positive figures must be read with a degree of caution, as it is still too early to speak of recovery.
According to Juan José Benítez, a lecturer in Economics at Malaga University, “the fact that the number of contracts has grown from one year to the next is positive and indicates that at least we are no worse than we were a year ago”. However he pointed out that “between the heaven of recovery and the hell of recession is the limbo of stagnation”.
The month-on-month variation between November and December was a little less positive. While the registered unemployed numbers fell by 1.04 per cent, the number of workers also fell.
“The fall in unemployment in December in Malaga can be explained by the despondency of job seekers, that is, they have lost hope of finding a job and have stopped searching through the SEPE [employment service] office,” said Benítez. In other words, with no benefits, they see no point in “signing on”.
In the town of Marbella the unemployment figures fell in 2013 by 7.34 per cent to a total of 15,663 job seekers.
On a national level the number of contributors to the social security system fell by 0.52 per cent (85,041 workers), which, while still negative, is the lowest decline since the beginning of the crisis.
According to the government figures released at the end of last week, there are a total of 16.4 million workers currently paying into the system and 4.7 million registered as out of work.
This latter figure is 3.04 per cent down on the total at the end of 2012. However the 147,385 reduction in registered job seekers is partly due to despondency and workers seeking employment in other countries.
The month-on-month figures were also positive according to the government, with 57,645 fewer job seekers than in November.
This, explained the Secretary of State for Employment, Engracia Hidalgo, “is the best December figure since 2001” and “responds to a combination of circumstances that are raising confidence”.