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EMPLOYMENT

Long-term jobless in Spain now account for 23% of all unemployed

Situation dramatic for 180,000 people who are living in households without any income

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People lining up in front of an unemployment office.

The long-term unemployed in Spain are still not benefiting from the affects of the incipient recovery in the country’s economy. According to the latest figures from the Active Population Survey (EPA), there are 1.2 million Spanish workers who have not had a job in the last four years or more.

Since the crisis began in 2008, when a global downturn was compounded by the collapse of Spain’s booming real estate market, the ranks of the long-term unemployed have multiplied by 12. The situation is particularly dramatic for 180,000 of them, given that they are living in households that are not receiving any kind of income at all, either generated by them or by other family members.

Practically all sectors have benefited from the improved situation, apart from the long-term unemployed

Unemployment hit its historic highs in Spain in 2013, with nearly 6.3 million workers without jobs. Since then the figure has fallen by more than a million. Practically all sectors have benefited from the improved situation, apart from the long-term unemployed. According to the latest EPA figures, 1,201,459 people have not had a job since at least the start of January 2011.

This data says a lot about the crisis in Spain and its duration. It also serves to perfectly illustrate the difficulties that the unemployed have to return to work once they have been out of the job market for a long time.

There are many unemployed workers from this sector and there are still courses on offer to train carpenters from scratch. It doesn’t make sense”

Researcher for labor union CCOO, Enrique Negueruela

The length of the crisis in Spain and the lack of opportunities is reflected in the data. At the beginning of the first recession, in mid-2008, just 7.3% of the unemployed – 115,229 workers – had been out of work for more than a year. By 2011, the number of unemployed who had been out of work for more than four years was barely 6% of the total. The latest data, covering the second quarter of 2015, shows that nearly one in every four unemployed (23.4%) has been without a job for four years more.

To deal with the situation, Enrique Negueruela, a researcher for labor union CCOO, suggests “very powerful employment policies and a lot of investment.” He argues that the government has wasted a lot of time in recent years and that the active polices “are inexistent,” and that those that do exist are using funds in an incorrect manner. “More than 1.5 million jobs from the construction sector have been destroyed,” he says. “There are many unemployed workers from this sector and there are still courses on offer to train carpenters from scratch. It doesn’t make sense, this money is being thrown away.”

Negueruela also argues that the long-term unemployed should be protected with higher subsidies. “Only one in every five people who are out of work receives any kind of assistance,” he says. “That’s where the pockets of poverty lie.”