Unemployment rate down to 12.9%, but still far from pre-pandemic figures

There are 499,700 jobless people — 88,100 more than last year, but 38,200 fewer than three months ago

Unemployment office in Barcleona (by Aina Martí)
Unemployment office in Barcleona (by Aina Martí) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 29, 2021 09:49 AM

The unemployment rate in Catalonia decreased to 12.9% in the first quarter of 2021, a slight drop on the figure from the end of last year, when the percentage of people out of work hit a four-year high at 13.87%.

There are 499,700 jobless people in Catalonia, according to Spain’s quarterly labor force survey (EPA), released by the National Institute for Statistics (INE) on Thursday.

While the number of people without work has decreased by 38,200 over the last three months, there are 88,100 more unemployed people than in the same period a year ago, when the rate stood at 10.66% and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic was still to be felt.

Across Spain, the pandemic has wiped out 474,500 jobs, with the unemployment rate standing at 15.98%, only slightly down from the previous quarter. 

The data does not include temporary lay-offs and those benefiting from the temporary redundancy schemes (ERTO).

In Catalonia, the unemployment rate is higher among women (14.35%) than among men (11.55%). 

The unemployment rate for young people (under 25) stands at 33.4%, almost twice the EU average, which was 17.2% as of February 2021. Taking into account all age groups, the average unemployment rate in the EU is 7.5%.

While youth unemployment in Catalonia has dropped five points in the last three months, it's still far from figures for other age groups, with 11.68% of people between 25 and 54 years old being jobless, and 9.09% for over 55s.

"Starting to recover"  

The latest unemployment figures were welcomed by the Work minister of the Catalan government, Chakir El Homrani, who believes "we’re starting to recover" and called to "consolidate the positive dynamic with the vaccine rollout and by reopening economic sectors that faced restrictions."  

Trade unions were less optimistic, explaining that the decrease in jobless numbers largely comes thanks to "precarious" economic sectors like hospitality, while 9,000 industry jobs were lost in the same period.