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Unemployment in Catalonia rose by 1.38% in February, the smallest increase for the month since 2008

Unemployment has reached a new historical record in Catalonia, with 641,948 people being signed on. These figures mean that 8,738 more people were out of work in February compared to January. In Spain as a whole unemployment increased by 112,269 people in February. This is 2.44% more than the previous month and puts the total number of people registered as unemployed on February 29th at 4,712,098.


02 March 2012 10:36 PM



Madrid (ACN).- The number of people registered as unemployed in Catalonia increased by 8,738 in February, which represents a rise of 1.38% compared to the figures from January according to data released on Friday by the Spanish Ministry of Employment. This last increase sets a new historical record, with 641,948 people out of work in Catalonia. However, February 2012 had the smallest increase in unemployment for the month since 2008. Furthermore, unemployment in Catalonia increased at a smaller rate than the figures for Spain as a whole, which had experienced a 2.44% increase. In Spain, 112,269 more people were registered as out of work and a record unemployment rate of 4,712,098 has been reached. On Friday, the Spanish Minister for the Economy, Luís de Guindos, announced the macroeconomic forecasts for 2012. They foresee a 1.7% drop in Spain\u2019s GDP over 2012 and an increase in unemployment of 630,000, reaching a rate of 24.3%.

Unemployment figures in Catalonia increased in the four Catalan provinces. The largest numbers correspond to Barcelona, since it concentrates roughly two thirds of the country\u2019s population. 5,972 more people were out of work in the capital province compared to January. In Tarragona, 1,603 more people signed on to the unemployment registry. In Lleida, there were 624 more jobseekers, and in Girona there were 539 more unemployed people. In total, there were 641,948 people looking for work in Catalonia. The last time there was a drop in unemployment in the month of February was in 2007. At that time, there were 384,365 fewer people registered as unemployed in Catalonia. Over the past five years, unemployment has increased by 60%.

In Spain as a whole, February ended with a total of 4,712,098 people registered as unemployed, which represents an increase of 412,835 or 9.6%. In February, unemployment increased by 2.44%, compared to January 2012. Only in the Balearic Islands (-0.58%) and in Extremadura (-0.4%), unemployment fell. After Galicia (1.25%) and La Rioja (1.26%), Catalonia is the third Autonomous Community with the smallest increase. On the contrary, Andalusia leads the unemployment increase with 3.61%, followed by Navarra (3.58%) and Castilla La Mancha (3.49%).

February\u2019s unemployment growth mainly comes from the service sector

Every economic sector in Catalonia lost jobs in February. However, the service sector \u2013which employs the most number of people\u2013 added 4,652 new people to the dole lists, 53.3% of those registered in February in the Catalan Public Employment Service (SOC). In total, this economic sector accumulates 394,628 unemployed people, a level not seen since 2010.

Construction added 1,285 more people to the SOC register. With a total number of 97,412, the sector leaves the slight recovery of 2011 behind and goes back to levels corresponding to April 2010. The industrial sector registered 790 more jobseekers, and agriculture, 686 more people. Both sectors accumulate three consecutive months with an unemployment increase. Furthermore, the industrial sector goes back to April 2011 levels, and agriculture to those of November 2011.

Among foreign workers, unemployment increased by 1.34% in February in Catalonia. 1,917 more people were added to a total number of 144,804 non-Spanish nationals living in Catalonia. It is a new historical record since the Spanish Minister for Employment included this category in its data, in 1997.

Fewer new contracts

In February, 144,225 new contracts were signed in Catalonia, the third lowest number since this data was included in 2005. On February 11th, the Spanish Government approved the Labour Market Reform. It entered into force the next day. The worst months were August 2009 (with 133,358 new contracts) and January 2010 (with 142,452 new contracts). Looking at the types of contracts signed in February, 10.86% were indefinite duration contracts (15,663), and the rest (128,562) were temporary. One year ago, in February 2011, 13% of the new contracts were indefinite and 87% were temporary.


  • A branch of the Catalan Public Employment Service (SOC) (by O. Campuzano)

  • A branch of the Catalan Public Employment Service (SOC) (by O. Campuzano)