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Unemployment in Catalonia fell by 9,728 people in April

April numbers have broken a three-month continuous trend of unemployment increases. In total there were 601,541 people registered as unemployed at the end of April.


05 May 2011 06:33 PM



Madrid (ACN).- April turned out to be a positive month in the fight against unemployment; however it traditionally has been the case (with the exception of 2008, at the beginning of the economic recession). 9,728 people less were registered in the unemployment lists in Catalonia at the end of April, according to data released by the Spanish Ministry of Employment. This means a 1.59% decrease compared to last March. The total number of unemployed people in Catalonia at the end of April was 601,541. However, compared to 12 months ago (April 2010), there are 7,885 unemployed people more registered as looking for a job, a 1.33% increase. For Spain as a whole, April ended with 4,269,360 people unemployed, 64,309 less than the figures at the end of March, which means a 1.48% drop. In relation to April 2010, unemployment increased by 3.06%, with 126,935 people. Looking at the different areas of Catalonia, unemployment dropped all over the country. There were 3,906 less in the province of Barcelona, 3,040 in Girona, 344 in Lleida and 2,438 in Tarragona. The Catalan President Artur Mas admitted that he is not fully satisfied with these figures, as the total unemployment rate remains very high and at the end of 2011 unemployment figures will be quite similar to the current ones. Opposition parties have criticised the Catalan Government for not putting enough programmes into place to fight unemployment, after more than four months in office.

Unemployment normally decreases in April. In the last five years, with the only exception being 2008 (at the beginning of the economic crisis), unemployment registered in April decreased, without taking into account the effect of the Easter holidays. Furthermore, last month was the month of April when unemployment decreased the most since 2006 in Spain as a whole. However, in Catalonia, in April 2006 and April 2010, unemployed decreased more than last month.

The Easter holidays, which coincided this year with the second half of April, contributed to increasing the number of work contracts, especially in the services sector. This allowed for a reduction in unemployment. Services have been the economic sector that have contributed the most to unemployment decreases, with 7,375 people less. Within the industrial sector, which has more stable and less seasonal employment, the rate fell by 1,160 people. Within the agricultural sector, there were 128 fewer people unemployed, and within the construction sector there were 398 less.

Unemployment decreased among the immigrant population

Immigrant people also benefited from the drop in unemployment. In April, the number of foreigners, including those coming from a European Union country, registered as unemployed was 138,433 in Catalonia. This figure represents a decrease of 3,421 people, after three consecutive months of unemployment increases within this section of society.

Less work contracts than last year

During April 2011, 160,020 contracts were signed, a figure below what was registered in April 2010, with 165,123 new contracts. Taking into account the seasonal effect of the Easter holidays, the number of contracts signed this year is also inferior to last year.

More temporary contracts

Despite the labour market reform that came into force last summer in the whole of Spain, among all the working contracts signed in April the temporary contract share has increased almost by one percentage point. They represented 87.31% of the new contracts, while in April 2010 they represented 86.49%.

One out of four unemployed people do not receive any financial aid

According to the Spanish Ministry of Labour, in Catalonia, 444,034 people were receiving some kind of financial assistance related to their unemployed status. 39.8% of all unemployed people received the contributive pension, 31.9% an unemployment subsidy and 2.1%, the active revenue for social insertion. However, 26.18% do not receive any kind of financial aid.

The Catalan Government is not fully satisfied and the opposition criticises the lack of employment programmes

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, explained in the Catalan Parliament that he is not fully satisfied with the fall in unemployment in April, as the drop is probably mainly linked to the summer season and the total figures remain very high. Mas added that according to the outlook from the Catalan Ministry of Economy, the unemployment rate will be quite similar to the current one at the end of 2011. However, he stressed the need to consolidate the economic recovery during 2011, with 0.9% economic growth mainly thanks to exports and the industrial sector. The opposition parties criticised the Catalan Government for not putting into place enough measures to fight unemployment in 2011. The current Government took office just after Christmas and, according to the opposition, in the last four months almost no training programmes for unemployed people have been running. The opposition, especially the Conservative PPC and the Green Socialist ICV-EUiA, also criticised the Government for not developing concrete measures to fight unemployment.


  • The entrance to an office of the Catalan Public Employment Service (by O. Campuzano)

  • The entrance to an office of the Catalan Public Employment Service (by O. Campuzano)