Unemployment rate in Catalonia drops by 29,300 people to 23.85%
By the end of June, there were 873,000 people in Catalonia without work and looking for employment, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA). This represents 29,300 fewer individuals than 3 months ago, which is the highest unemployment reduction in the second quarter of the year since 2002. However, employment levels have only increased by 11,800 people, which means that this year Catalonia has experienced the lowest increase in job creation for this period of the year since 1998. The Catalan unemployment rate is now 23.85%, while the Spanish average is 26.6%. In the whole of Spain, the number of people unemployed decreased by 225,200, which means that the total number of unemployed people is now below the psychological landmark of 6 million individuals (5,977,500).
Barcelona (ACN).- By the end of June, there were 873,000 people in Catalonia without work and looking for employment, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA) published on Thursday by the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE). This represents 29,300 fewer unemployed individuals than 3 months ago, which is the highest drop in the second quarter of the year since 2002. However, employment levels have only increased by 11,800 people, which means that this year has experienced the lowest increase in jobs creation between April and June since 1998. The Catalan unemployment rate is now 23.85%, while at the end of March it was 24.53%. In the whole of Spain, the unemployment rate was 26.6% by the end of June, while three months ago it was 27.16%. Furthermore, the number of people unemployed decreased by 225,200, which means that the total number of unemployed people is now below the psychological landmark of 6 million individuals (5,977,500). Foreign-nationals are the population group that contributed the most to unemployment reduction in Spain, with 145,400 fewer individuals. This means that 2 out of 3 people who have left the unemployed group are foreign-nationals. The Catalan Business and Employment Minister, Felip Puig, stated that “we are not out of the economic fragility yet, but the trend allows us to be optimistic and be confident about the future”. The Spanish Employment Minister, Fátima Báñez, emphasised that the second quarter of 2013 registered the highest job creation in the private sector since the crisis started.
Catalonia’s unemployment rate reduced from 24.53% at the end of March to 23.85% by the end of June. The unemployment rate of the first quarter of the year had represented the highest unemployment levels in Catalonia since 1979. The second quarter of the year is traditionally a period when unemployment drops, as it can be observed in the data between 1989 and 2013. This trend is mostly due to the seasonal jobs linked to the tourism industry which starts the summer season in this quarter of the year. In the last 25 years, only on 4 occasions did unemployment increase between April and June (in 2008, 2001, 1993 and 1992). However, the last period registered the highest unemployment reduction since 2002 (which registered a 32,400 people decrease).
Employment levels increase but at a low pace
Employment has increased between last April and June in Catalonia. The employed population increased by 11,800 people. However, this increase is the lowest registered between April and June since 1998, even below that of 2008 at the start of the current economic crisis (when employment levels registered a 15,200 person increase). In 2009 and 2012 employment fell by 40,600 and 19,100 respectively during the second quarter.
The active population is reduced for the ninth consecutive quarter
Another relevant data from the last EPA is that of the active population – those working or looking for a job – continues to reduce in Catalonia. The active population has been decreasing for the last nine consecutive quarters. Between the first quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2013, Catalonia’s labour market lost 166,700 people. By the end of June 2013, the active population reached 3,660,400 people in Catalonia, 17,500 fewer individuals than 3 months ago, which represents a 0.48% reduction over a single quarter. The Catalan activity rate in June reached 61.50%. Josep Oliver, Chair of Economics at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) explained to the CNA that between the third quarter of 2007 and the first term of 2013, a great number of people have abandoned the labour market in Catalonia. 17% of the people aged between 16 and 34 have abandoned the Catalan labour market. Furthermore, 22% of foreign-nationals living in Catalonia have done the same.
Agriculture and service sectors increase employment levels
According to the EPA, the economic sectors that have contributed most to job creation in Catalonia during the last 3 months were the service sector (with jobs linked to the tourist summer season) and the agriculture sector, conditioned by the fruit harvesting season. The service sector created 13,500 new positions and the primary sector (agriculture, livestock and fishing), 1,800 new jobs. Despite this, the industrial and the construction sectors have shown negative figures. In fact the construction sector, even with a shy improvement in the first quarter of the year, continued to lower the amount of jobs, a trend which started in the first quarter of 2008, at the start of the real estate crisis. The industrial and the construction sectors equally lost 1,800 jobs.
Long-term and youth unemployment increase
Two worrying figures are the increase of long-term and youth unemployment levels. In Catalonia there were 510,000 people having been unemployed for more than a year, which represents an important economic and, in particular, social problem, since it dramatically increases their risk for social exclusion. In fact, long-term unemployment increased by 2,000 individuals over the last 3 months. With this increase, long-term unemployed people represent 58.42% of the total number of unemployed individuals. Furthermore, the youth unemployment levels (affecting those between 16 and 24 years old) increased from 52.72% at the end of March, to 53.88%.
Employment is reduced in Barcelona
Looking at the geographical figures, the Province of Barcelona – which contains two thirds of the Catalan population – registered 632,100 people as being unemployed, which represents a reduction of 19,900 individuals compared to 3 months ago. The unemployment rate in Barcelona was 23.87% at the end of June, while in March it was 24.37%. The reduction of the unemployment rate is mostly explained by the reduction of the active population, since the activity rate reduced from 61.52% to 60.96%. In addition, the number of people with a job in Barcelona reached 2,015,500 individuals, which represents 7,600 fewer jobs than 3 months ago. However, in the second quarter of 2012, 31,500 jobs were lost in the Barcelona Province.
Girona creates jobs
The Province of Girona, in north-eastern Catalonia – where the Costa Brava is located, the number of unemployed people dropped by 5,700 individuals and reached 88,200 people by the end of June. This represents a 23.22% unemployment rate, while in March the Girona Province had a 25.11% unemployment rate. By the end of June, there were 291,900 people working in the Province of Girona, which represents the creation of 11,800 jobs. This figure is much higher than the 4,300 created during the same period last year.
Unemployment increases in Lleida, but remains among the lowest in Spain
The Province of Lleida, in western Catalonia, has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Spain. However, it increased over the last 3 months and reached 18.57%, while in March it was 16.59%. The total number of people being unemployed in Lleida increased by 4,700 individuals, reaching 39,300 individuals. In this Catalan province 172,100 had a job at the end of June, 2,100 fewer individuals than 3 months ago. The reduction in jobs is higher in 2013 than that registered a year ago (-600 jobs).
Tarragona has the highest unemployment rate in Catalonia
Finally, in the Province of Tarragona, in southern Catalonia – where the Costa Daurada is located, unemployment was reduced by 8,300 individuals, leaving the total figure at 113,400 individuals. However, despite the unemployment decrease, the Tarragona Province has the highest unemployment rate in Catalonia. By the end of June, Tarragona’s unemployment rate was 26.92%, while it was 28.98% at the end of March. The employment level in Tarrago reached 308,000 individuals, which represents the creation of 9,700 more jobs over the last 3 months.