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LABOR MARKET

Unemployment rises in January as Christmas season comes to close

Jobless claims up by 57,247, while Social Security system loses 204,043 contributors

An employment office in the Madrid region.
An employment office in the Madrid region.

January has kept up its reputation as a bad month for the labor market as unemployment claims rose and the number of people holding jobs fell in the first month of 2016.

The end of the Christmas holiday drive pushed an additional 57,247 people to apply for unemployment benefits last month, for a total of 4,150,755. However, this is the smallest January rise in jobless claims since 2007, according to Labor Ministry figures released on Tuesday.

Most jobs were lost in the commercial and hospitality sectors, reflecting the end of the holiday campaign

On the other hand, 204,043 people stopped contributing to the Social Security system – a measure of employment – leaving the total number of affiliations at 17,104,357. This represents the greatest January drop since 2013, when Spain was still in its second recession.

Most jobs were lost in the commercial (33,614) and hospitality sectors (28,4829), reflecting the end of the holiday campaign. There were also decreases in administrative services, construction and industry.

Seasonally adjusted figures, which eliminate the effects of special periods such as Christmas through mathematical formulas, paint a better picture, showing drops in joblessness and increases in Social Security affiliations.

Hirings fell compared with December, but climbed 2.13% relative to the same month in 2015.

Taking only permanent contracts into account, hirings rose 4.47%. But this type of contract only accounted for 8.9% of all contracts in January.

English version by Susana Urra.

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