Unemployment in Catalonia falls for first time since March, down 3.23%

Unions warn many new jobs are precarious and could disappear again by September

A young person gets help at the unemployment office on October 30 2018 (by Andrea Zamorano)
A young person gets help at the unemployment office on October 30 2018 (by Andrea Zamorano) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 4, 2020 05:16 PM

A total of 469,349 people registered as unemployed in Catalonia in July, down 15,670 on the previous month, according to figures released by the Spanish Labor ministry on Tuesday.

This marks the first time that the number of unemployed in Catalonia has fallen since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

July's figures represent a 3.23% fall compared to June, but a year-on-year rise of 30.8%, ie 110,519 more unemployed than July 2019.

The last month in which unemployment figures decreased was March, the same month that the Spanish government declared a state of alarm due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Unemployment usually tends to go up in July, as hiring for most summer jobs takes place in May and June. This year, of course, has been very different, with the easing of lockdown and the reopening of borders at the end of June contributing to the fall in the jobless total.

It should be noted, that the data from the Ministry of Labor does not include the hundreds of thousands affected by a temporary redundancy schemes (ERTOs).

Across Spain, the number registering as unemployed fell by 89,849, to a total of 3,773,034, down 2.33% compared to June, but up 761,601, or 25.3%, on July 2019.

Quarterly unemployment data released by the Labor Force Survey on July 28 showed there were 472,900 out of work, putting the unemployment rate in Catalonia at 12.78%.

Unions skeptical

The fall in unemployment was met with skepticism by two of the main trade unions.

The UGT and CCOO pointed out that although figures have improved compared to the previous month, they were still way down on last year. Many of the jobs, they argue, are precarious summer jobs that will disappear come September.

"Unstable recruitment for men, young people, and immigrants, in the service sector and in tourist areas" has driven the fall in unemployment figures, the CCOO said, while the UGT warned that 67.22% of people registered as unemployed receive less than 430 euros per month with some receiving nothing at all.