The province is behind in the recovery of employment in Spain. This is evident in the latest data provided by the Ministry of Labor, which shows that it is the seventh national territory that has experienced the least growth in employment in the last year. And is that while the whole of the country has closed the year with the lowest unemployment levels since 2007, Alicante continues to have 8,334 more unemployed than before the pandemic. Issues such as high dependence on services, precariousness or strong temporality, estimated at 88%, are hidden behind this situation. The unemployment figures contrast with those of Social Security affiliation, which in this case are better than before the health crisis, although other factors come into play there, such as the people who are hired without previously going through Labora’s offices or those who accumulate different jobs at the same time.
The province ended 2021 with a total of 156,407 unemployed, after a decrease of 7,187 during the month of December, thanks, above all, to the pull of services in the middle of the Christmas season. There are 4,786 unemployed minus those in this sector, which leaves the total figure at 105,021. This is followed by the 249 decrease registered in agriculture, to place the balance at 6,087. Next comes the industry, with 244 fewer unemployed, placing the total number at 20,066, and construction, with a drop of 194 and a global count of 14,017. With regard to the group of people without previous employment, the decrease has also been marked, 1,714 unemployed, leaving the figure at 11,216.
With this latest update, the province closes the year with 29,702 fewer unemployed than the previous year, which was marked by confinement and strong restrictions to prevent the coronavirus. This is a considerable reduction, but insufficient, however, to return to pre-pandemic figures. In fact, Alicante currently has 8,334 more unemployed than at the end of 2019, in a situation that contrasts, and a lot, with the one that is being lived in the whole of Spain.
And it is that, while the country, at a global level, has registered during 2021 a decrease in the number of unemployed of 782,232, which leads it to reach the lowest level since 2007 with 3,105,905, the province still presents scales higher than those before the health crisis. This situation has come about after a last year in which Alicante has become the seventh national territory in which unemployment has decreased the least in percentage terms, specifically 15.96%. Only Álava appear behind, with a reduction of 10.65%; Vizcaya, with 11.22%; Guipúzcoa, with 11.27%; Jaén, with 13.58%; Cantabria, with 13.64%; and Valencia, with 14.21%.
These data contrast with those of the Social Security affiliation, section in which the province yes it has reached levels even higher than those of prepandemic. Alicante, in particular, currently has 683,341 contributors, after just last month it beat its absolute record with 684,156, which exceeded the maximum reached in July 2019. These figures, however, contain many nuances, since they appear people who have been joining the labor market in recent months without having previously been registered in the Labora offices, a circumstance that usually occurs when aid has been exhausted or with those who work only at certain times of the year. There are also workers who register several affiliations, accumulating different jobs at the same time.
Behind this discrete contractual activity in the province of Alicante are factors such as high dependence on services, precariousness or high temporality, issues to which the unions refer precisely. Thus, Yolanda Díaz Serra, head of UGT Employment in l’Alacantí and La Marina, stresses that temporary employment currently represents 88%, and that the data confirm “the need for the agreement reached in the labor reform, which introduce the necessary change to curb the use and abuse of this type of contracting. That is why we demand that the generation of stable employment be promoted to discourage temporary employment and precariousness, the main hallmarks of our provincial labor market ”.
José María Ruiz, Secretary of Employment of CC OO in the same demarcation, expresses himself in similar terms, who draws attention to the fact that the recovery of employment during 2021 has been led, as is the structural norm, the service sector, with a 64.8%. Thus, it underlines the need for insist on the need for qualitative improvement of working conditions, in line with «some of the advances of the labor reform in the parliamentary phase, aimed precisely at obtaining a decent job with rights. Progress will be made in reducing temporary employment, in social dialogue and collective bargaining, in quality training, and in reducing precariousness in subcontractors, which should have a positive effect on the accident rate ”.
On the part of the Valencian Business Confederation (CEV), its director of Economy, Ricardo Miralles, draws attention to the fact that neither the Valencian Community nor the province of Alicante have yet recovered the levels of registered unemployment prior to the crisis. As highlighted, the annual decrease at the regional level of 15.13% contrasts with 20.12% of the national average. «The Valencian Community -indicates- is the second region that has reduced the gap the least that exists between the volume of unemployment registered in December of this year and those registered before the crisis ”, he laments.
Another vision is that of the president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, who focuses mainly on the numbers of contributors. In his words, “the more than two million people affiliated with Social Security who show the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Labor demonstrate the resilience of the Valencian Community in the face of the crisis generated by the covid pandemic” .
In the same vein, the Regional Secretary for Employment, Enric Nomdedéu, points out the conviction of the Consell that the increase in affiliations is due to the “effort that companies have made to resist the effects of the pandemic, but also to public policies that we carry out at Labora », referring to the programs launched by the Generalitat, such as Avalem Joves, Avalem Dones or the new job training offer.
A total of 5,804 workers are still affected by ERTE
Alicante has closed the year with 3,199 workers in ERTE due to covid, a figure much lower than the 23,366 in 2020. However, it is the province of the Valencian Community that has the most people in this situation, since Valencia counts 2,195 and Castellón 490.
Another fact that draws attention is the 88,863 unemployed who do not benefit from any type of benefit, which means that three out of every five unemployed are not getting paid at the moment.
The gender gap, on the other hand, is still present, since 59% of the total registered unemployment has the face of a woman. They are, in particular, 95,516 those who are registered in Labora’s lists, compared to 92,385 men.
It should be noted that During the month of December, 39,901 permanent contracts were formalized, which contrasts with the only 5,395 temporary ones. Hence, the 88% temporary percentage reported by the unions.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.