Spain Unemployment Continued To Rise In May ; But The Figure Is Ten Times Lower Than In Last Two Months

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The number of unemployed in Spain increased by 26,573 people in May, compared to 282,900 the previous month and -84,075 in May 2019. This is the worst May figure in recent years, but it is a vast improvement on the expected increase of 232,000. This may be enough to raise some optimism in the Spanish labour market. As a reference, this is the data for May from the last three years: -84,075 in 2019, -83,738 in 2018 and -111,908 in 2017.

Whatsmore, this figure shows a clear reduction compared to previous months (up 282,000 in April and up 302,265 in March); so ten times and eleven times less, respectively. These figures are still affected by the strong impact of COVID-19 on our economy. But they show a gradual improvement which is expected to continue in the coming months as economic activity returns to normal. It should be kept in mind that the figures do not include those workers affected by temporary layoffs schemes (ERTEs), estimated at 4.1 million people.

Overall, there were 3.857,776 registered unemployed in May, numbers not seen since May 2016, and representing a year-on-year increase of 778,285 people (25% more).

The monthly increase in registered jobless people was generated mainly in the services sector, with 40,784 more unemployed, but also in agriculture (710 more) and the group without previous employment (9,058 more). Meanwhile it decreased in construction (23,717 fewer people) and industry (262 fewer).

The labour market data for May also reflects an increase of 97,462 people registered with Social Security compared to the previous month. However, this figure is still insufficient to recover the hundreds of thousands of jobs destroyed in March and April. This brings the total number of people registered with Social Security to 18.556,129.

The Labour Ministry has also reported that 3.748,009 unemployment benefits were conceded between 16 March and 31 May. These have already been paid thanks to the agreement signed by the Ministry and the financial institutions.

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The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.