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Three million Spanish workers made less than €1,000 a month in 2014

Despite economic recovery, labor force survey shows stagnating salaries and growing gaps

The gap between top and bottom earners widened last year. Ampliar foto
The gap between top and bottom earners widened last year. GETTY

Despite an apparent economic recovery, Spanish salaries did not experience any noticeable rise last year, while the difference between top and bottom earners increased, as did the breach between men and women, according to figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) on Friday.

The 2014 Active Population Survey additionally shows that 4.37 million workers in Spain made less than gross €1,221.10 a month last year, with another 2.9 million failing to even reach the €1,000 mark, coming in at a monthly €972.80 or less.

The lower salaries experienced the smallest increases, widening the gap between those who make the most and those who make the least

In 2005, the term mileurista (one-thousand-euro-earner) was coined by a member of the public who wrote a letter to the editor of EL PAÍS, to describe the countless highly skilled young Spaniards who made no more than €1,000 a month despite a booming economy.

Now, many people talk about nimileuristas, or not-even-one-thousand-euro-earners. There are around three million Spaniards in this situation.

And that is just looking at gross salaries. After deducting income tax and Social Security payments, and factoring in two extra payments a year that most salaried workers receive, there are more than four million Spaniards who make less than €1,000 a year, out of a total of 14.2 million included in the INE study.

The average monthly salary last year was €1,881.30 gross, representing only a 0.65-percent rise (or €22.20) from 2013.

Those with lower salaries experienced the smallest increases, widening the gap between those who make the most and those who make the least.

There is also a gender disparity, with women’s salaries dropping an average €3.50 a month to €1,618.10, while men’s monthly checks rose €23.80 to €2,125.

The INE notes that one of the main reasons for this disparity is that more women work part-time, on temporary contracts and in lower-paying sectors.

English version by Susana Urra.