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Unemployment increases in Catalonia for another month and reaches 611,269 people

Unemployment registers in Catalonia increased by 8,658 people in March. One in four jobseekers does not receive any public assistance. In addition, training courses for jobseekers have run out of funding and are waiting for the new budget to be approved by the Catalan Government.


05 April 2011 12:23 AM



Madrid (ACN). - More bad news for unemployment in Catalonia. March was the worst month since 1996. At the end of March, 611,269 people were registered on the unemployment lists in Catalonia, 8,658 more than at the end of February, according to data released today by the Spanish Ministry of Employment. This increase is the highest in Spain in absolute terms. The figures in March represent a 1.44% increase in the number of unemployed people compared with February. It is also 1.2% more than those registered at the end of March 2010, exactly one year ago. Looking at Spain as a whole, unemployment increased by 34,406 people. There were 4,333,669 unemployed people at the end of March, 0.8% more than at the end of February and 4% more than a year ago. Unemployment hit all sectors of the economy in March. The services sector added 5,035 people to the unemployment register, and construction 1,112. Agriculture and industry contributed with 389 and 437 people respectively.

Despite the negative results, Catalonia was also the Autonomous Community with the highest increase of new work contracts. Last March there were 178,035 new contracts in Catalonia, the highest number since May 2010. This figure represents 27,111 more contracts than those registered in February, a 17.96% increase. The number of new contracts in March 2011 is also higher than the figures seen in March 2010, which registered a large number of new contracts due to the effects of the Easter holidays. In 2011, the contracts linked to this holiday will be counted in April and the figures will be known on May 3rd.

Fix-term contracts increase

Out of the 178,035 new contracts signed in March, 23,294 where fix-term and represent 13.1% of the total. The remaining number, 154.741 or 86.9% of the total were temporary. In comparison to February, the number of new fix-term contracts signed in the last month increased by 18.07%. Despite the increase of fix-term employment, if the comparison is not made with February but with March 2010, fix-term contracts signed in the last month dropped by 10.57%.

Barcelona is Spain\u2019s province with the highest increase in unemployment

Barcelona province leads not only the increase of unemployment in Catalonia, as it is by far the most populated province but is also the Spanish province with the highest number of people registered in the unemployment lists at the end of March, bringing 7.483 more jobseekers. In absolute terms, Barcelona has 453,767 unemployed people. Compared with February\u2019s figures there is an increase of 1.68%. This increase of 7,483 people is by far the highest in Spain. Malaga follows Barcelona with 3,967 jobseekers. It must be pointed out that Barcelona is the second most populated province in Spain, with more than 5.5 million residents, followed by Valencia with less than 2.6 million people (Malaga Province has 1.6 million people).

The remaining Catalan provinces also saw an increase in their unemployment figures. 815 more people were on the unemployment register in Tarragona, reaching 69,469. This figure represents a 1.19% increase compared with February and 2.92% more than 12 months ago (March 2010). Lleida totalled 29,996 unemployed people, 226 more than last February. It represents 0.76% more than last February but 6.29% more than March 2010. Girona ended last March with 58,037 unemployed people, 0.23% more than last February (with 134 less unemployed people) and 1.71% than 12 months ago (when there were 974 less people registered).

27% of the new unemployed people in Catalonia are immigrants

Out of the all the people who were registered in the unemployment register at the end of last March in Catalonia, 27.2% were foreigners, with 2,348 people. This figure represents an increase of 1.68% from last February and 6,402 more people than March 2010, or an increase of 4.73%.

No more subsidies for 25% of those on the unemployment lists

One out of four jobseekers are no longer receiving the dole. 25% of those registered in the unemployment lists in Catalonia are no longer receiving financial assistance. In Spain, the maximum time allowed to receive unemployment benefits is 2 years, in a gradual scheme that matches working days with days on the dole. The minimum time is three months with the person has worked a minimum of 360 days during the last six years. For those not reaching the minimum number of days or those whose days on the dole expired, a minimum wage of 426 euros is allocated for a maximum of 6 months. More than 150,000 people in Catalonia are no longer entitled to this financial assistance and do not get any public money.

On top of this, due to the lack of funding of the Catalan Government and the need to cut public expenditure, no more money will be allocated to training courses for jobseekers. Those courses were free and had largely increased in the last years in order to be attended by a larger number of unemployed people. It is expected the courses will start again once the situation improves.


  • An unemployment office in Barcelona (by O. Campuzano)

  • An unemployment office in Barcelona (by O. Campuzano)