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Unemployment rose to 13.9% at the end of 2020

More than half a million people without work in Catalonia


28 January 2021 11:35 AM


ACN | Barcelona

The unemployment rate in Catalonia in the last quarter of 2020 rose to 13.87%, with 537,900 Catalans finding themselves without work, according to data from Spain's quarterly labor force survey (EPA), released by the National Institute for Statistics (INE) on Thursday.

This increase signifies that 132,100 more people were out of work compared to 2019, however the data does not include temporary lay-offs and those benefiting from the temporary redundancy schemes (ERTO).

The coronavirus pandemic’s effects on employment has been devastating as the year closed out with 137,600 job places lost.

Throughout Spain, this figure reached 622,000, with the unemployment rate rising to 16.7%.

Catalonia finds itself to be the autonomous community where job loss grew the most compared to last quarter, with the Balearic Islands and Madrid far behind with 21,900 and 21,000 less people in work.

In the third quarter, the rate hit 13.23%, showing that the increase in unemployment has slowed slightly. The largest increase in 2020 was seen between the first and second quarter where unemployment rose from 10.66% to 12.78%.

New jobs have also risen slightly, with 3,340,600 working in the region, 0.5% more than this summer.

In total this has equated to unemployment being 28.2% higher at the end of 2020 than at the same time last year, and the number of those unemployed is the worst since the first term of 2017, when 558,000 people were seeking a job in Catalonia.


  • Waiter working at a bar in Tarragona Catalonia on December 18, 2020 (photo by Eloi Tost)

  • Waiter working at a bar in Tarragona Catalonia on December 18, 2020 (photo by Eloi Tost)