Registered unemployment in Catalonia falls by 1,983 people in July and equals rates from December 2010
568,231 unemployed people were registered with the Catalan Public Employment Service (SOC) this July, 1,983 less than in June, which represents a 0.35% reduction. This is 42,198 less unemployed people than in July 2013, or a 6.91% annual reduction. All of the Catalan provinces have seen a drop in unemployment over the past month. In addition, there has been an increase of Catalans registering with Social Security, a 12% rise in hiring rate and nearly all sectors in Catalonia are creating new jobs. In Spain as a whole the number of people looking for work stands at 4,419,860 people, 281,478 fewer than the previous year, which represents a 5.94% annual drop.
Madrid (ACN).– 568,231 unemployed people registered with the Catalan Public Employment Service (SOC) this July, 1,983 less than in June, which is a 0.35% reduction, according to data released on Monday by the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security. This is 42,198 less unemployed people than in July 2013, or a 6.91% annual reduction. However, July 2014 has seen one of the lowest decreases of unemployment in monthly terms since 2010, only surpassed by July 2012 when unemployment in Catalonia dropped by just 784 people in one month, or 0.13%. All of the Catalan provinces have seen a drop in unemployment over the past month, although the decrease is most pronounced in Tarragona, which has seen a 1.38% reduction since June. Further good news was registered in July with the 2.1% increase of Catalans registering with Social Security compared to figures from July 2013. Furthermore, there was a 12% rise in the hiring rate and nearly all sectors in Catalonia created new jobs. In Spain as a whole the number of people registered as looking for work stood at 4,419,860 people by the end of July, 29,841 fewer than in June, a 0.67% drop. In annual terms, there were 281,478 fewer people registered as unemployed, which represents a 5.94% decrease compared to figures from July 2013. The Catalan Deputy Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Joan Aregio, commented that the unemployment reduction figures were "especially important" for July, which is traditionally a bad month for employment statistics. He mentioned that, from a "moderated" point of view, "it seems like things have really begun to change". However, not all SOC statistics were positive, as it was reported that the benefit coverage for Catalonia is 59.37%, meaning that this June (these statistics are always offered with a month of delay) 231, 689 unemployed people out of the 570,214 total did not receive any financial help from the state.
Normally unemployment increases in the month of July, with the exception of the Julys since 2010, which register falls in unemployment. The reduction in the unemployment rates of this July has been one of the more modest, with a monthly decline of 0.35%, surpassed only by July 2012 which registered a lower monthly decline of unemployment in Catalonia with a 0.13% reduction, or 784 people.
13 consecutive months of unemployment drops in Catalonia
Catalonia has now witnessed 13 consecutive months of falling unemployment annual rates. In July 2014 there was an annual reduction of 6.91%, compare to figures from July 2013. This is the highest yearly unemployment drop in Catalonia in the month of July since 1999, when the decrease was 14.07%.
In terms of monthly statistics, Catalonia has achieved a reduction in employment rates for six consecutive months. This has not happened since 1999, when unemployment fell every month from February to July.
Spain registered a 5.94% annual drop
Spain as a whole has seen unemployment figures drop by 29,841 people in the past month, placing the current statistic at 4,419,860 people and representing a 0.67% monthly decrease. Since the beginning of the year, unemployment in Spain has reduced by 281,478 people; the most important figure that has been recorded in Spain's labour market since 1998. This represents a 5.94% annual drop compared to figures from July 2013.
However, if seasonal factors are taken out of the statistics, which is the compensation for the spike in jobs on offer during the tourist season, the number of unemployed people has actually increased by 32,357 people between June and July of this year. This trend has been repeated every year since 2000, according to the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security.
In all of the Catalan provinces unemployment rates are falling in both monthly and yearly terms.
The number of people looking for work in the Province of Barcelona, where two thirds of the Catalan population live, stands at 429,110 people, which is a reduction of 323 people in the past month, a 0.08% decrease. In yearly terms, the number of unemployed people has reduced by 33,851, which is a 7.31% decline. This low unemployment rate has not been seen in Barcelona Province since December 2010, when the number of unemployed people stood at 416,795 people. In terms of yearly statistics, unemployment rates have been falling in Barcelona for the past 13 months or, 6 consecutive months in terms of monthly measurements.
The number of unemployed people in the Girona Province (north-eastern Catalonia, where the Costa Brava is located) stood at 48,886 people in July, 475 fewer than in June, which is a 0.96% decrease and 3,385 people less than July 2013, a 6.48% decrease. This is the lowest number of unemployed people that has been registered in this province since July 2010, when the number of individuals looking for work was 47,891. The province of Girona has achieved 12 consecutive months of reductions in the unemployment rate if the yearly statistics are used, and 6 consecutive months in terms of monthly statistics.
The number of unemployed people in the Lleida Province (western Catalonia) was 25,976 in July, which is 289 people less than June, or a 1.1% monthly decrease. This is 2,195 people less than in June 2013, a 7.79% annual reduction and the lowest figure recorded in Lleida since September 2010, when there were 25,516 people looking for work in the province. Lleida has seen unemployment rates declining for 14 consecutive months in annual terms and 6 consecutive months in monthly terms.
The number of unemployed people in Tarragona Province (southern Catalonia, where the Costa Daurada is located) is 64,259, a 896 person reduction from June, or a 1.38% monthly decrease. This is a decline of 2,767 people from July of last year, a 4.13% reduction, and was last matched in August 2011, when the number of people registered with SOC was 63,284. Tarragona has achieved 13 consecutive months of falling unemployment in annual terms and 5 consecutive months in monthly terms.
Increase in Social Security membership
There has been an increase in the number of Catalans registered within the Social Security scheme: the public protection system that provides healthcare, pensions, unemployment benefits and non-contributory grants to its members. Since June 2014, 23,164 more people have registered with the system, a 0.78% increase, and 62,521 more people have joined since July last year, a 2.13% increase. All sectors have shown an increase in the number of workers registered to Social Security except the service sector, which reports a 1,500 person drop.
Falling immigrant unemployment rates
The number of unemployed foreign nationals in Catalonia stands at 107,592 people, a figure which follows the downward trend in unemployment rates amongst immigrants in annual terms seen over the past 25 months (more than two years). This puts the current number of unemployed foreign nationals at the same level as August 2009.
All sectors creating employment except services
The construction sector has reduced the number of unemployed people by 2,430 in the past year, whilst the industry sector has shown an unemployment drop of 1,427 people and agriculture has taken 182 people off the SOC list. However, the services sector, which has been recruiting all summer, has registered an increase of 1,899 unemployed workers.
Hiring levels increase by 12%
The number of job contracts signed in Catalonia in July rose by 271,151, representing an 11.67% increase from July last year and a 19.12% rise from the number signed in June. Of these contracts, 25,155 were permanent, 3,773 more than in July 2013, or a 17.65% increase. The number of temporary contracts has also risen, this time by 11.1% compared with July 2013, an increase of 24,568 contracts. Despite this growth, temporary contracts only make up 9.27% of all contracts signed in Catalonia. Nevertheless, this is a slight increase compared to July of last year, when they made up 8.89% of all contracts.
"It seems that things have really begun to change"
The Catalan Deputy Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Joan Aregio, commented that the drop in registered unemployment in Catalonia is "especially important" in July since historically this month has seen "more bad than good". Aregio mentioned that the recent statistics from the Spanish Ministry "follow a trend that we have seen for a few months". Taking into account these statistics, as well as the rise in membership to social security, the Catalan Deputy Minister commented that "from a moderated point of view, it seems that things have really begun to change".
Aregio also commented that this seems especially apparent when taking into account that the whole of Spain has seen a fall in unemployment rate and that there has been a "percentage" increase in permanent contracts in Catalonia and a "more intense" decrease in unemployment in the construction and industry sectors. Aregio mentioned that he believed that Catalonia can "continue the positive news".
Benefit coverage is below 60%
However, despite all this positive news, it has still been reported that the benefit coverage for unemployed Catalans is less that 59.37%, which means that 231,689 people of the 570,214 people who were unemployed in June (these statistics are always issued with a month of delay) did not receive any kind of financial help from the state.
Of the total number of unemployed people in Catalonia, 163,073 people, or 28.6%, receive a contributory unemployment benefit. 143,562 unemployed people, or 25.18%, received a subsidy from the state, which is a non-contributory benefit targeted towards those who no longer qualify for the contributory benefits due to the duration of their unemployment or their lack of contributions. 31,890 unemployed people, or 5.6%, were in the Active Insertion Income programme, which pays a social grant to people with no income at all.