Another week with good news for the job market. Social Security broke a new record in July with an average of 19,591,728 affiliates. It is the highest figure in history, surpassing that of July 2019, when Spain had 19.53 million. In other words, now there are about 60,000 more employed than then. However, the situation is very different: just look at the registered unemployment data, also published this Tuesday. If in July 2019 there were just over three million unemployed, now there are 3,416,498 unemployed. The evolution in this field is also positive, since unemployment ended July with 197,841 fewer registered than in June, another absolute record for a single month. In total, there are 365,636 unemployed less than a year earlier.
In the figures known this Tuesday there are peculiarities derived from the pandemic that prevent ensuring that, despite the record affiliation, in Spain there are more people working than ever. The main one is the temporary employment regulation files (ERTE), a measure that has been widely used to protect employment and to which, on average, some 339,000 people were welcomed in July (331,486 exactly, on the last day of the month) . The vast majority of them, roughly two to one, were full-time files. That is to say, workers who have not yet attended their jobs. And in situations similar to the ERTE there are 218,000 self-employed persons who in July needed to receive the special aid that Social Security has enabled due to the pandemic.
Despite the still visible ravages of the crisis, the evolution of the labor market has already chained several months of joys. July has traditionally been a good month for the labor market (like the previous ones, due to the pull of tourism on employment) and 2021 has been no exception, despite the uncertainty created by the new wave of coronavirus. May and June ended with historical unemployment reductions (in round figures, 129,000 fewer unemployed in the fifth month and 167,000 fewer in the sixth). Julio has broken that record again with almost 200,000 fewer unemployed. In three months, therefore, registered unemployment has been reduced by approximately half a million people and in total there are five consecutive months of reductions, after the maximum in the current crisis was reached in February with more than four million unemployed. Since March, the decline has been more than 592,000 people.
The reduction in July has been homogeneous in all sectors, although services have led widely, with 133,658 fewer unemployed. In industry there have been about 13,000 fewer unemployed; 10,000 in construction and almost 9,000 less in agriculture. In total, 31,991 people did not have a previous job, the group where, in percentage terms, there has been a greater decrease in unemployment (-9.5% compared to June). Joaquín Pérez Rey, Secretary of State for Employment and Social Economy, welcomed this evolution. “It shows the strength of the recovery because it is mainly concentrated in the service sector, which is the one that has suffered the most and the one that is joining the activity very vigorously, accompanied by the vaccination process,” he assured. After his meeting with the King in Palma, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has described the employment data as “extraordinary” and has assured that Spain “is heading directly to an important economic recovery. On the part of the opposition, Elvira Rodríguez, general secretary of the PP, has assured that the data known this Tuesday “are better but not good.” Rodríguez highlighted the high number of unemployed despite being in the high tourist season.
In the seventh month there have been more women than men who have left the unemployment lists: they have been 104,891 and they, 92,950. However, the number of unemployed, which exceeds 2 million, is still greater than the number of unemployed (about 1.4 million). Among those under 25 years of age, unemployment has fallen by almost 37,000 workers, which expresses a monthly reduction of 12.3%.
By autonomous communities, the largest decreases in July in absolute terms correspond to Andalusia (69,159 fewer unemployed), Catalonia (37,548 less) and the Canary Islands (20,374 less). In relative terms, the most intense monthly reductions were those of the Balearic Islands (-15.8%), Asturias (-9.9%) and Catalonia (-8.4%). Unemployment only increased in the autonomous city of Ceuta, where 345 more unemployed were registered.
More than nine million workers
Added to the reduction in registered unemployment is the pull of Social Security affiliation, which is now close to 19.6 million. There are 91,451 more affiliates on average than in June (0.47% more). The Secretary of State for Social Security and Pensions, Israel Arroyo, has valued that “the levels prior to the pandemic have recovered, while in the financial crisis it took 130 months to be reached”, when comparing the evolution of the crisis caused by the coronavirus with the Great Recession of 2008.
The Secretary of State for Employment and Social Economy, Joaquín Pérez Rey.
In seasonally adjusted terms, enrollment in July was 19.4 million, 133,000 more employed than in the previous month. The vast majority, 15.1 million, were part of the general scheme and 3.32 million contributed to the self-employed. A good part of the historic milestone is due to women, who for the second month beat the mark of nine million affiliates, although this time the figure remains 3,000 women from the June record. There are currently 13,000 more affiliates than in December 2019, the month that until this summer marked the highest level of employed women.
Compared to July 2020, membership has increased by 806,174 people, 4.3% more. The recovery is more intense among employed workers (in the general scheme, affiliation grows annually by 5.1%) than among the self-employed (1.9% more). By activities the hospitality industry stands out clearly over the rest. Earn more than 69,000 affiliates, which represents a monthly progression of 5.69%. Education, as usual every summer, shows the reverse trend, with a loss of 109,000 affiliates, 11% less than in June.
In total, some 40,000 more contracts were signed in July than in June, with a clear advance in the temporality, since there were 47,000 more temporary contracts than in the previous month and 7,000 fewer fixed contracts. A fact that the unions have not liked. UGT has warned, in its analysis of the data, that “continuing to cement the labor market based on the precariousness, temporary nature and partiality of jobs, in addition to not being fair, will only lead to failure and greater inequality.” The central has taken the opportunity to reiterate some of the demands of the unions, such as the repeal of the latest labor reforms. The secretary for Employment and Professional Qualification of CC OO, Lola Santillana, has had an impact on the same matter: “Yes or yes there must be an agreement at the social dialogue table to stop temporary employment and job insecurity,” he said in a statement to the media. .
Compared to the figures from a year ago, both permanent contracts (24,395 more permanent contracts) and temporary contracts (277,733 more contracts) are progressing.
In short, the good streak continues after the Labor Force Survey (EPA) for the second quarter of the year was released last Thursday, which ended with one of the highest job creation figures in the historical series (465,000 new positions between April and June). With this, Spain has already recovered 9 out of 10 jobs lost during the pandemic. We will have to wait for the figures for August and September, months that due to the seasonality of the Spanish labor market are not usually so favorable, to see if the trend consolidates.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.