The first quarter of this year brought bad news for employment in the province. According to figures from the EPA (active population survey), 7,900 more people registered as unemployed between 1 January and 31 March, and the unemployment rate rose to 17.46 per cent. Although there were 51,100 more people in work than during the same period in 2018, this report from the national institute of Statistics shows that the province ended the first three months of the year with 136,900 people looking for work, compared with 129,000 at the end of last year. The number of people with jobs was also lower, by 3,000.
The rise in unemployment was partly due to the increase in the active population (+4,800) and the drop in people in work (-3,000). The growth in the number of people looking for their first job in the province is especially significant, as it reached 10,800 in the first quarter of this year, 2,100 more than in the previous three months.
By sector, construction and industry did best as the percentage of employed workers increased (from 9.2 to 9.7 in the construction sector) compared with the drop of 5,800 in services and, to a lesser extent, in agriculture. This was partly due to Easter being later this year, as that had an effect on the contracts issued for temporary bar and restaurant staff.
With these figures, Malaga is now lagging behind other parts of Andalucía, because only Malaga, Seville and Cadiz saw a fall in the number of employees. In fact, at a global level there was an increase of 15,900 in the region to 3,106,200, and the number of unemployed was 829,500, which is 21.08 per cent of the total population. In relative terms, Andalucía is among the regions with the biggest increase in employment this year, 0.52 per cent, behind only Extremadura and the Basque Country. It is also one of the regions where employment rose in the past year, ahead of Catalonia and Madrid.
The Malaga business confederation said it is normal for unemployment to rise in the first quarter, so the interannual figures can be considered positive. However, Patricia Laguna of the CCOO trade union said vigorous policies are needed to increase permanent employment and overcome job instability.