Spanish government approves new labor market regulation
The deal repeals conservatives’ 2012 regulation but has to be greenlighted in Congress
The deal repeals conservatives’ 2012 regulation but has to be greenlighted in Congress
The number of unemployed people in Catalonia dropped to 552,500 people in the third quarter of 2016, representing a decrease of 51,100 people in relation to the second quarter, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA). The unemployment rate fell to 14.63%, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2008. The environment of economic recovery, with record numbers in the tourism sector, led to the creation of about 42,700 new jobs, the largest number ever recorded in any of the seventeen regions of Spain. Catalonia closed the third quarter with 3.2 million employed people, a 3.64% increase over the previous year, and was the community with the highest number of people employed, ahead of Madrid (with 2.8 million).
Registered unemployment decreased in Catalonia by 9,162 people in July compared to the previous month, the third-biggest drop for the month of July since 1996. The total number of people registered as unemployed with Catalonia’s Public Employment Service (SOC) at the end of the month was 501,785 individuals, which represents an 11.69% drop in annual terms, the highest percentage decrease since April 2000 (when registered unemployment dropped 11.94% compared to 1999 figures). In addition, the figures from July mean that there have now been 25 consecutive months of annual drops in the number of unemployed in Catalonia. As well as this, the total number of Catalans without a job and looking for one at the end of last month was the lowest since July 2009 (when there were 495,911 jobless people). In Spain as a whole, registered unemployment decreased by 74,028 people from June to July, which represents an 8.45% annual drop and is Spain’s most significant decrease for the month of July since 1998.
At the end of June there were 31,900 fewer jobseekers in Catalonia than in March and 44,200 less than a year ago, according to the Active Population Survey for the second quarter of the year released on Thursday. These figures mean Catalonia's total number of unemployed was 726,200 individuals and that the unemployment rate was 19.1% at the end of the second quarter. In March, the unemployment rate was 20.05%; in December, 19.88%; and in September, 19.1% as well, the same as for June of this year. In addition, the number of people with a job increased by 51,800 individuals between March and June, a 1.71% increase in quarterly terms. Compared to a year ago, in June there were 35,000 more people with a job than in June 2014. At Spanish level, unemployment also decreased during the second quarter of the year, with 295,600 fewer jobseekers registered, a 5.43% reduction on figures from March. In the whole of Spain, there were 5,149,000 people without a job and a 22.37% unemployment rate overall.
The Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and Barcelona-based Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB) think tanks, together with an Italian and a Greek research centre, have presented a report stating that the economy of an independent Catalonia would grow more in the next 15 years than if the current 'status quo' was kept. The study analyses 3 different scenarios: the current model, an agreed independence process and a unilateral declaration of independence. In either case of independence, the Catalan economy would be in better shape in the long-run than if the current framework was kept, the researchers conclude. However, in the event of a unilateral process, there may be negative economic effects in the short-term, mostly due to uncertainties related to EU Membership. Nonetheless, they consider the current inter-territorial fiscal scheme – imposed by the Spanish Government – "unsustainable at macroeconomic level" for Catalonia.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reviewed and improved its economic growth forecasts for Spain, going from a 2.5% growth rate for 2015 forecast in April to a 3.1% one foreseen this June, and from 2% to 2.5% for 2016. However, the IMF has also issued recommendations and warnings, emphasising that Spain will have to carry out "additional fiscal efforts" and "structural reforms" in order not to jeopardise the country’s economic recovery. The IMF recommends that Spain reduce the costs of public healthcare and education by making users pay for part of the services. According to the international organisation, Autonomous Community governments – such as Catalonia's – should have greater fiscal responsibilities in such systems since they exclusively manage them. In this vein, the IMF has praised the fiscal consolidation efforts undertaken over the past few years by regional governments and has asked for an increase in their funding and fiscal powers, as well as for the adapting of the deficit targets to their needs.
Official data released on Tuesday by the Spanish Employment Ministry show that both Catalonia and Spain as a whole registered the largest monthly decline in unemployment for a month of April since 1996. In particular, Catalonia closed last month with 552,974 people registered on the Catalan Public Employment Service's list, which means 18,681 fewer jobseekers in comparison with March 2015, a 3.27% drop. In annual terms, registered unemployment in Catalonia fell by 9.62% (58,848 fewer people), which is the highest percentage decline since May 2000. These figures mean that registered unemployment in Catalonia has fallen for 22 consecutive months. In Spain as a whole, at the end of April 2015 the number of people registered as unemployed stood at 4,333,016, which means 118,923 fewer jobseekers than in March, representing a 2.67%. In annual terms, registered unemployment in Spain dropped by 7.5%, as 351,285 fewer people were registered as looking for a job.
The Catalan Government announced on Tuesday a new programme to assist unemployed people aged 45 and over to return to the labour market and find a new job. The Executive has ordered Catalonia's Public Employment Service (SOC) to launch the programme, the details of which will be fine-tuned in the coming weeks. According to the Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, the plan will have a budget of around €50 million and 30,000 people should benefit from it. Puig highlighted that the number of people registered as unemployed has decreased for 21 consecutive months in annual terms, but there is still a great effort needed to improve the overall high unemployment figures. Furthermore, young people and those over 45 have the greatest difficulty finding a new job.
At the end of March 2015, there were 571,655 people registered as unemployed in Catalonia. This is 9,469 fewer jobseekers in comparison with February 2015, representing a 1.63% drop. It is also the largest monthly decline in absolute terms since 1996. In annual terms, this was the biggest drop in the last two decades, as the number of jobseekers fell by 52,812 people (-8.46%). Moreover, registered unemployment in Catalonia declined for the 21st consecutive month in annual terms. In Spain as a whole, at the end of March 2015 the number of people registered as unemployed stood at 4.45 million, with 60,214 fewer jobseekers than in February (which represents a 1.33% drop, the largest decline in 13 years). In annual terms, registered unemployment fell by 343,927 (-7.17 %), a positive sign considering that during the last 6 years it had grown in the month of March by an average of more than 35,000 people.
At the end of February 2015, there were 581,124 people registered with the Catalan Public Employment Service (SOC) as being unemployed, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security. This represents 1,645 fewer jobseekers than were registered at the end of January (582,769), a 0.28% drop. In addition, at the end of February 2015 there were 48,462 fewer registered jobseekers than a year ago, which marks the largest annual decline for registered unemployment in the last 17 years for a February month. This represents a 7.7% fall in the last 12 months. The data released on Tuesday shows an encouraging trend for Spain as a whole as well, since registered unemployment fell by 13,538 people in monthly terms, a 0.3% drop. In annual terms, the Spanish labour market posted a 6.24% drop, with 300,333 fewer registered jobseekers.
According to a recent study published by the Swiss research centre, IMD World Competitiveness Centre, Catalonia would be the 38th most competitive state in the world if it were independent. The list, headed by the United States, shows that an independent Catalonia would be 2 places above Spain, which currently occupies 40th position (including Catalonia). The report highlights the strengths of Catalonia such as business efficiency, as well as the weaknesses, which stem from certain inefficiencies of the public sector. Apart from focusing on quantitative indicators, the study also has a section that is based on qualitative surveys of a country’s companies. Catalan executives consider Singapore, Germany, Ireland and the UAE to be the most lucrative for business development and ranked Catalonia 24th on the list, which is 21 places above Spain.
Registered unemployment in Catalonia grew by 6,821 people by the end of January, compared to figures from December. However, it is the lowest increase since 2007 for a month in which many seasonal contracts related to Christmas sales end. Furthermore, more good news comes in the form of the 8.06% drop in annual terms posted in January and the fact that registered unemployment has been decreasing for the last 19 consecutive months in annual terms. However, registered unemployment has also been increasing in monthly terms for the last 3 consecutive months (November, December and January). In the whole of Spain, registered unemployment increased by 77,980 people compared to a month ago, also the lowest increase for this time of year since 2007.
Catalonia posted a 19.88% unemployment rate at the end of 2014, almost 4 percentage points lower than the rate for the whole of Spain, which was 23.70%. On 31 December 2014, there were 756,500 unemployed people in Catalonia, which represents 83,000 less jobseekers than a year ago, according to the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE). Despite the positive annual results, unemployment increased by 30,500 people in quarterly terms, compared to figures from the end of September 2014. Back then, Catalonia's unemployment rate was 19.10%. In terms of jobs, the Catalan economy ended 2014 with 49,300 more people in employment than at the end of 2013, reaching 3,048,100 workers. The Catalan Government is said to be "moderately optimistic" with the figures and highlighted that both 2014 and 2013 ended with less unemployed in annual terms, accumulating two consecutive years of decreased numbers.