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Unemployment in Catalonia grew by 9,253 in September but showed a 1.83% annual drop

At Spanish level, unemployment increased both in monthly and annual terms. Catalonia is the Autonomous Community with the largest annual unemployment drop in absolute terms and the second highest in relative terms. The number of people registered as unemployed in Catalonia at the end of September dropped by 11,546 individuals compared to figures from a year ago, representing a 1.83% annual decrease. However, in monthly terms, registered unemployment increased by 1.51%, with 9,243 more jobseekers. September is a month with a traditional unemployment increase due to the end of summer season contracts. Last September’s unemployment increase was the lowest since 2008.


02 October 2013 10:34 PM



Barcelona (ACN).- The number of people registered as unemployed in Catalonia at the end of September dropped by 11,546 compared to figures from a year ago, representing a 1.83% annual decrease, according to data released on Wednesday by the Spanish Employment Ministry. However, in monthly terms, registered unemployment in Catalonia increased by 1.51%, with 9,243 more jobseekers than at the end of August. September is a month when unemployment usually increases due to the end of summer season contracts, with the exception of the 2000-2007 period. Last September’s unemployment increase was the lowest since 2008, when the economic crisis was starting. In the whole of Spain, registered unemployment increased by 25,572 in September, which means that the total number of jobseekers registered on the Public Employment Service’s lists reached 4.724.000. Furthermore, in annual terms, unemployment also grew in Spain, with 19,076 more jobseekers than a year ago, representing a 0.41% increase.

The Catalan Government is cautious

The Catalan Government stated that the figures in Catalonia point in “the right direction” but it also warned that “the translation” of these positive hints to the labour market would be “slow” and “longer than could be expected”. Additionally, the Catalan Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ramon Bonastre, also wanted to highlight “the very tough situation at social level”, with more than 620,000 people currently registered as unemployed in Catalonia.

The best September month in the last 5 years

Since the start of the economic crisis in 2008, unemployment has always increased in September in Catalonia compared to employment levels in August. However, the unemployment increase registered in September 2013 is the lowest for 5 years. On the 30th September there were 9,253 more jobseekers registered with the Catalan Public Employment Service (SOC) than a month previously, representing a 1.51% increase. September 2012 posted similar figures with an unemployment increase of 6,575 individuals and a 1.54% monthly growth. One of the worst September months in the last few years crisis was that of 2011, with a 2.78% unemployment increase and 16,282 more jobseekers on the SOC lists. However, September 2008 was the worst, with a 3.55% unemployment increase.

Annual unemployment drops

September 2013 has been a positive month in annual terms, since unemployment has dropped compared with figures from a year ago. In the last 12 months, SOC lists have 11,546 fewer people, a 1.83% unemployment drop. In relative terms, Catalonia has the second highest unemployment decrease in Spain, behind only the Balearic Islands which registered a 6.8% drop. However, in absolute terms, Catalonia is the Autonomous Community where unemployment has dropped the most throughout Spain.

Unemployment decreased throughout Catalonia in annual terms. In the Province of Barcelona – which contains two thirds of the Catalan population – the number of registered jobseekers decreased by 1.73% (-8,255 individuals) compared to a year ago. In the northeastern Province of Girona – where the Costa Brava is located –unemployment dropped by 0.95% (-528 jobseekers). In the western Lleida Province, it decreased by 5.4% (-1,599 people) and in the southern Province of Tarragona – where the Costa Daurada is located – unemployment dropped by 1.66% (-1,164 individuals).

Foreign nationals are behind the annual drop

Unemployment among foreign nationals has also increased in Catalonia during September and breaks a 6-month trend (since March). Among this group of people, the monthly unemployment increase amounted 2,954 individuals, 2.55% more people than by the end of August. However, compared to a year ago, the number of foreigners who have quit the SOC lists reached 11,174 people, which almost corresponds to the total annual unemployment drop in Catalonia. Many of these foreigners have left the country – and therefore the SOC lists – looking for better job opportunities.

In addition, more people have registered with the SOC for the first time, which is a statistic considered as positive in the current context since it means that more people believe in the possibility of finding a job and thus they register as jobseekers. The average profile of this group of people is either a person below 24 years old or a woman older than 44.

More new contracts signed, most of them temporary

In September, 194,990 new contracts were signed in Catalonia, a 34.08% increase compared to August and a 9.81% increase compared to September 2012. Out the total number of contracts signed last month, 172,077 were temporary (88.25%) and the remaining 22,913 were for permanent positions (11.75%). The figures show that despite the Spanish Government’s Labour Market Reform of February 2012, the number of temporary contracts continues to grow. In fact, within the first 9 months of 2013, the number of permanent contracts has dropped by 9.96% in Spain compared to the same period of 2012.

One out of three unemployed people does not receive any financial assistance

The figures for people receiving financial assistance are always issued a month later, and therefore those published today correspond to August’s numbers and not September’s. By the end of August there were 611,658 unemployed people in Catalonia. 408,304, representing 66.75% of the total, were receiving some financial assistance, either unemployment benefits (223,561 individuals, 36.55%) or a social grant (184,743 people, 30.20%). However, the remaining 203,354 people (33.25%) were not receiving any sort of financial assistance from the Catalan or Spanish Governments.


  • A branch of the Catalan Public Employment Service (by ACN)

  • A branch of the Catalan Public Employment Service (by ACN)