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Tamaño letra

Rise in Social Security affiliations points to rebound in the Spanish job market

But unemployment also grew last month, with a total of 3.2 million people out of work, according to figures released on Monday by the Labor Ministry

A Madrid employment office.
A Madrid employment office.

The number of workers signed up to Spain’s Social Security system has gone back up to around 19 million. Last month closed with 18.99 million workers, to be exact, a rise of 130,360 people – the best figure for the month of October. On the down side, however, the official number of unemployed people in the country also rose last month: a total of 52,195 people more signed on as out of work, according to figures released on Monday by the Labor Ministry.

It’s still too early to know whether 2018 will end with a rise of more than half a million people signed up

While it may appear contradictory, employment and unemployment data do not necessarily have to rise and fall at the same time. While it is logical for the number of unemployed people to fall as the number of people signed up to Social Security rises, there are factors that can preclude this from happening. One of these is the workforce, the number of people in the country of working age who are either employed or seeking work. If this group grows considerably, jobs can be created, but not necessarily sufficiently to absorb this new rise of available workers, thus seeing unemployment grow.

But the rise in Social Security affiliations does point to a rebound in the Spanish job market, after it lost impetus during the summer. Affiliation was growing, but only a little more than 3% over the year. That number fell in July for the first time since 2016, and stayed there in August and September. But in October it began to grow once more. There was a 3.05% increase compared to the same month in 2017.

In the year so far, 562,544 people have signed up to the Social Security system. It’s still too early to know whether 2018 will end with a rise of more than half a million people signed up – November and December are not usually the best months for the labor market. That said, if this rhythm keeps up, Spain would see four years of rises above that figure.

While it may appear contradictory, employment and unemployment data do not necessarily have to rise and fall at the same time

In terms of unemployment, the figure for October was not good, given that the number of people seeking work rose. However, the 52,000 new job seekers registered last month was a fall from September. The total number of unemployed in Spain is currently 3.2 million, according to figures from the country’s employment offices. The figure according to the Encuesta de Población Activa (EPA) survey – which analyzes the entire workforce, whether or not they have registered as unemployed – puts the figure at 3.3 million.

Looking at the bigger picture, the rise in new hires does have a positive side, with the Spanish labor market displaying an unexpected robustness in October. In recent months the number of new contracts signed was sluggish if compared to previous years. The figure for last month, however, reveals a surprising acceleration.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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