The data from the latest Labour Force Survey, corresponding to the fourth and last quarter of 2021, have just been released by the National Statistics Institute. In the fourth quarter of 2021, 20.18 million people were employed. This is the highest number since September 2008 and 840,700 more than a year earlier (+4.3%).
According to the National Statistics Institute, the number of registered unemployed was 3,103,800 at the end of December – with a sharp fall in the fourth quarter – which was the lowest number since September 2008 (down 616,000 year-on-year; -16.6%). This is the largest percentage fall in unemployment in 16 years.
The fall in unemployment was concentrated in both sexes and among the under-60s, especially among 25-39 year-olds (-25.1%). Among those aged 60 and over, unemployment rose by 11.8%.
At the regional level, unemployment fell in all regions except La Rioja (+1.2%). Aragon (-28%) and Asturias and Catalonia (-26.5% in both cases) showed the largest decreases.
The unemployment rate was 13.3%, 2.8 percentage points lower than a year ago and the lowest, not only since the start of the pandemic, but since September 2008. The proportion of unemployed fell for both sexes and for the under-60s and rose for the over-60s. The youth unemployment rate fell by 9.4 percentage points, but remains high at 30.7%.
The Canary Islands (-6.3 p.p.) and Castile-La Mancha (-4.1 p.p.), showed the largest decreases in the unemployment rate. The opposite happened in La Rioja (increase of one tenth of a percentage point). Andalusia has the highest unemployment rate (20.2%) and the Basque Country the lowest (8.4%).
In year-on-year terms, employment grew for both sexes, for all age groups and for both Spaniards and immigrants. By level of education, only the number of employed with education up to primary level fell slightly. In other words, the recovery in employment has been generalised.
The number of employed persons increased in Industry, Services, Construction and also in Agriculture and Livestock. Disaggregating the information we find that, of the 16 branches of activity, employment rose in all of them except Retail Trade, where it fell by 2.5% year-on-year (its second fall in a row), Public Administration (-1.2%) and Domestic Services (-7.9%). The most marked increases were in Information and Communications (+17.8%) and Hotels and Restaurants (16.8%).
The rise in employment, always in year-on-year terms, benefited both the self-employed (+3.5%) and employees (+4.5%), although to a greater extent temporary employees (+7.7%) than permanent employees (+3.5%).
Employment increased in all the autonomous regions, especially in the Canary Islands (+13%), the Region of Murcia (+6.1%) and Castile-La Mancha (+5.8%). Employment was only lost in Ceuta (-1.1%).