One million people without a job are not receiving any unemployment benefit in Spain
One million people without a job in Spain are not receiving any kind of unemployment benefit

One million people without a job in Spain are not receiving any kind of unemployment benefit

Since 2009 this group of mainly long-term unemployed who have used up their benefits has been on the rise

Lucía Palacios


Friday, 5 May 2023, 14:46


About one million unemployment people in Spain are not receiving any kind of government benefit.

The overwhelming figure represents more than a third (35%) of the more than 2.8 million registered unemployed people in Spain at the end of 2022, it was revealed on Wednesday 3 May at the CC OO union's presentation of the report, 'Labour market and unemployment protection Year 2022'.

The number of people without benefits has increased significantly since 2009, despite the fact that most of them have previous work experience.

For example, if 14 years ago 17% of the unemployed with work experience were not receiving any benefit, by the end of 2019 that number had risen by more than ten percentage points to 29%, and exceeded 750,000 people.

"These people are the ones who suffer the effects of the gaps in benefit coverage, given the difficulty of finding a job again or contributing for long enough," the trade union said.

"Benefits such as the regions' minimum incomes at the time or the Minimum Living Income do not cover these gaps due to excessive requirements or difficulties in accessing aid."

This lack of cover for a very significant number of the registered unemployed is due to the high level of long-term unemployment that has existed in Spain for years and which has not reduced, even in the strongest economic times.

At a time when the labour market is growing at rates not seen for more than a decade, there are still 1,359,800 long-term unemployed, and 58% of them are not receiving benefits.

This is not surprising, given that almost seven out of ten, 67%, have been unemployed for more than two years and more than 610,000 (22% of the total) have been looking for work for more than four years without success, so if they have had access to aid this has run out, given that benefits are only for a maximum of 24 months.

People over 45 years of age, especially women, are the most affected by these long periods of unemployment. A trade union study highlights a worrying gender gap, with 34.4% of unemployed women with work experience not having access to benefits, compared to 21.5% of men.

Most of the benefits paid were welfare benefits. Of the more than 1.7 million workers who received aid from the public employment services last year, 44% received a contributory benefit and the remaining 56% were welfare benefits, the most common being the aid for the ove-52s (43% of beneficiaries).

CC OO urged the government to approve the reform it had promised, to extend coverage and simplify subsidies.


Spain's first deputy PM, Nadia Calviño, spoke of the "excellent performance" of the Spanish labour market at the start of the year.

The Social Security gained more than 400,000 new contributors in the first four-month period in 2023, according to the minister.

Without going into detail, Calviño spoke of a "generalised increase in all sectors".

"We are, in short, facing a structural change in our labour market," she said.

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