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Employment hits record high in Malaga province for April with more than 710,000 workers
Social security

Employment hits record high in Malaga province for April with more than 710,000 workers

The start of the tourist season has given a strong boost to job creation in the province, with 13,000 more social security contributors in a single month, but unemployment has only fallen by 4,166 people

Nuria Triguero

Malaga

Monday, 6 May 2024, 18:09

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Some 710,600 workers were making social security contributions in the province of Malaga at the end of April, a new record, according to latest data.

The figure is almost 8,000 more than on 31 March. Considering the average number of contributors for the whole of April, the monthly increase is even higher, at 13,000 people: almost identical to the figure for March. The tourism industry provided a strong boost to employment, with 26,000 jobs created in just two months.

Compared to the rest of Spain, Malaga is the fourth province with the highest growth in social security contributors, behind the Balearic Islands, Barcelona and Madrid. And the high season has not yet begun.

The sector that created the most jobs is, as might be expected, the hospitality industry: from March to April it added almost 7,000 contributors, more than half of the total number of new contributors in the province during that month. This sector is now close to 100,000 people in active employment. Administrative jobs and auxiliary services are in second place, with almost 1,300 more workers than the previous month. This was followed by transport and logistics (+1,178), retail (+942) and construction (+567). To a lesser extent, all sectors except finance contributed to job creation: professional, scientific and technical jobs (+387), recreational and artistic jobs (+329), "other services" (ranging from household appliance repair to hairdressers or gyms, with 314 more social security enrolments), health and social services (+304), education (+221), industry (+225), public administration (+140), the technology sector (+135) and real estate activities (+95).

The year-on-year growth in employment is close to 20,000 contributors, 2.8% in percentage terms. Malaga is also the fourth most prominent province in the country, behind only Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. If this increase is broken down by sector, those that have added the most affiliates in the past twelve months are hospitality (+4,288), retail (+2,646) and professional scientific and technical activities (+2,341). This is followed in order of importance by health (+2,118), transport (+2,009), education (+1,689), administrative and support service activities (+1,377), technology (+923), real estate (+909), industry (+765) and "other services" (+475). Only one sector now has fewer workers than a year ago: public administration (-542).

The self-employed regime has made an important contribution to the growth in employment, having added almost 4,800 contributors in Malaga in the past 12 months and now exceeding 135,000. In the last month alone, this group has increased by almost 900.

Unemployment is not falling at the same rate

Unemployment, meanwhile, continues to fall, but at a much slower rate than would be expected given the job creation, the data shows. In April, 4,166 Malaga residents left the dole queue, leaving 126,982 people on the unemployment register. This is the lowest level for a month of March since 2008.

At the recent demonstration on 1 May, secretary general of the CC OO trade union in Malaga, Fernando Cubillo, drew attention to this paradox of the Malaga labour market and pointed out the jobs it generates "are taken by people who come from outside the province". No one can deny that this is true: if it were not, the number of unemployed would be falling at a similar rate to that of job creation.

What is not so clear is why this is happening: Cubillo pointed out the need for "more training" and "better wages and working conditions". Employers have been calling for the need to encourage those receiving unemployment benefit or subsidy to start working, and the Junta has called on the central government to make legal changes to prevent the unemployed from rejecting offers which are "appropriate" to their profile, or to make it possible to combine work and the unemployment benefit.

Another reason that may explain the gap between the increase in new contributors and drop in unemployment is the increase in 'fijo discontinuo' contracts, that is, a permanent employment contract for seasonal work. IN This case when the worker is inactive (often during the winter months in the tourism industry), they do not count as unemployed as they have a job to go back to (although they do receive a benefit), but they do stop paying contributions. Therefore, when they are called back to work by their employer, these seasonal workers do not reduce the number of unemployed, but they do increase the number of social security registrations.

Returning to the growth of unemployment in April, Malaga came second in the region behind Seville, which had the boost of its annual fair last month. The fall in unemployment spread to all Andalusian provinces, with a regional total of 20,954 fewer unemployed than the previous month.

Similarly, this monthly decline in unemployment was shared by all economic sectors, led by services (-3,164). Far behind were construction (-376), agriculture (-97) and industry (-96). The previously unemployed also fell, with 433 fewer jobseekers.

With the moderate decreases in March (-3,095) and April (-4,166), the year-on-year change in unemployment has slowed down considerably in Malaga. Today there are 6,428 fewer unemployed than a year ago (-4.8%), while in the previous year the decrease was more than 10,000 (7.3%).

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