Unemployment drops for seventh month in a row, down by 20% on 2020

12,658 fewer jobless, with 378,470 out of work overall

Harvest workers picking cherries in Seròs (by Laura Cortès)
Harvest workers picking cherries in Seròs (by Laura Cortès) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 4, 2021 09:23 AM

Unemployment in Catalonia dropped again in September, for the seventh month in a row.

According to official data provided by Spain's labor ministry, there are 12,658 fewer people looking for a job than in August (-3.24%), with 378,470 overall now – that is, a 20.86% decrease compared to September 2020.

After peaking at 512,290 people out of work last February, coinciding with the third wave of Covid-19 infections, unemployment has steadily decreased, bolstered by the gradual lifting of restrictions on mobility and businesses. In August, the figure stood at 391,128.

In Spain, unemployment also dropped, with 2.28% fewer jobseekers than in August and 13.73% fewer than in September 2020. Joblessness decreased in Catalonia more than anywhere else in Spain except for the Canary Islands last month. 

Within Catalonia, the Barcelona area saw the biggest drop in people out of work: a 12,448-person difference, well ahead of Tarragona (219) and Girona (207). In Lleida, on the other hand, there were actually 216 more unemployed in September than in August. 

Slightly over 73% of Catalonia's unemployed workers came from the service sector, while 10.8% were previously employed in industry, 7.9% in construction, 2.1% worked in the agricultural sector, and 6.1% had no previous occupation listed. 

Although 279,414 work contracts were signed in September, the vast majority were not permanent: 16.44% 'indefinite' versus 83.56% fixed-term.

Temporary unemployment schemes

There were almost 48,000 furloughed workers on temporary unemployment schemes (ERTO in Catalan or ERTE in Spanish), which have become commonplace throughout the pandemic. Around a third of these people were working fewer hours than usual, while the other two-thirds were not working at all.

The government program, which covers 70% of temporary unemployed workers' salaries for the first 180 days they are on the scheme and then 50% thereafter, was recently extended until February 28.