A queue outside a job centre in Madrid. / R.C.

Employment weakened in Spain in August, with nearly 190,000 fewer people registered with Social Security

Unemployment rose by 40,428 in the last month, but this was a smaller increase than in previous summers despite the economic uncertainty

JOSÉ MARÍA CAMARERO Madrid

August is the last month of the peak tourist season in Spain and this year it has ended with more people unemployed and fewer in work after nearly 18 months of improvements in the labour market following the coronavirus crisis.

Now, with the uncertainty of the war in Ukraine and rising inflation affecting the economy, 40,428 more people have registered as unemployed and the number paying Social Security contributions has dropped by 189,963.

With Spain so dependent on tourism, the best months for employment figures are always from April (or Easter) to August, which is when temporary contracts for summer work come to an end. Social Security minister José Luis Escrivá had already warned that employment would start to drop in August, although the figure is not as high as it has been in other years.

The number of people registered as looking for work at the end of August was 2,924,240. This was 409,675 fewer than at the same time last year, which reflects a 12% drop in year-on-year figures.

By sector

Unemployment actually dropped by 6,693 people in the agricultural sector (-4.53%) and by 494 among people who have never worked. However, it rose in the services sector by 37,546 (1.85%), in the construction sector by 5,095 people (2.23%) and in industry by 4,974 (2.13%).

The figures also reflect the number of job positions which ended in August. The average Social Security affiliation figure was down by 189,963, although the Ministry points out that this was a smaller reduction than in the same months in 2017, 2018 and 2019, before the pandemic, when it was around 200,000.

The total number of people registered with Social Security at present is 20,151,001 (10,771,093 men and 9,379,908 women), which is 677,277 more than a year ago.

In fact, the Social Security authority points out that, in seasonally adjusted terms, the figure is actually up by 62,135 people, to a total of 20,173,277, and this reflects 16 consecutive months of increased employment.