Unemployment and Social Security affiliation are the best indicators of employment trends, which reached their nadir in Spain during the first quarter of 2013, with 6 million registered as unemployed (EPA).
Not included in those numbers are pensions contributions (deficit of 10%) nor unemployment benefits that totaled € 2.75 billion per month, which had to be covered by the state budget. Five years of recession (2008-13) cost the labour market a total of 3.5 million jobs, the highest in the eurozone.
During 2013, stabilisation occurred, with a strong recovery during 2014 contributing to the creation 400,000 jobs, a trend which has continued into 2015.At present, certain statistics in the economy are more akin to those of the growth phase before 2008 than to the recession.
The sectors that have improved the employment rates are construction, education and manufacturing-all good signs. Positive growth is occurring in the granting of permanent contracts for full and part-time employees. The pace of collective bargaining lags behind those trends, along with the evolution of wages, but such factors require time to improve, with significant gains more likely when the bags of those still unemployed empty further.
The spectre of youth unemployment still haunts the economy, with over 50% of those under 25 currently out of work. Similarly, there remains chronic unemployment in older age groups. Of the 4.5 million registered unemployed, just over half (2.4) have access to unemployment insurance, with an average income of €850 per month. Yet more than two million have exhausted their right to the resource. Such a large figure stirs concerns about both labour market and social exclusion.