Less unemployment also means less jobs in Spain

End of year’ Labour Force Survey (4Q13) could be understood in different  ways, but does not support the thesis of a firm recovery. To be fair, only of a weak, half-hearted, slow and uncertain emerging process from crisis. In short, it means 70,000 jobless people less than one year ago, and therefore less unemployment. However it also includes a jobless rate decrease: 200,000 jobs lost in 2013 and job destruction as a consequence, though at a slower pace. Then these objective figures can serve as a starting point to build theories more or less optimistic, pessimistic or favourable for each’ electoral interests.

Breaking down big numbers in order to find trends is interesting, but does not allow to come to relevant conclusions. It is obvious that those last data are the less worst in all the crisis set that began in mid 2007, which confirms  the idea of “hitting rock bottom”, but not of recovery. Nevertheless it is likely to say that employment rate will grow in year 2014, at least slightly, whenever current trend keeps on.

The number of employed workers (16.7 millions), which is not equivalent but consistent with Social Security registrations, represents similar figures to mid 2002, twelve years before, so twelve lost years. Regarding employment rate maximum figures (20.4 million in 2008’ first quarter ), jobs’ loss reaches 3.7 million people. This is the cost of crisis and the adjustment results. With no possibility to devaluate currency, 3.7 million jobs have disappeared in Spain’s society. This data should force Spanish political leaders as well as population to a long and deep debate.

Spain produces 7% less, which is the GDP fall in the long years of crisis, and cut employment by 18%. Behind all these raw figures underlie other consequences in terms of taxes collection and social insurance contributions that affect directly to public deficit and state capacity to invest and solve the  Spanish citizens’ problems.

To maintain that crisis is over after reviwing those figures is, to say the least, bold.


About the Author

Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja
Over 30 years working in economic journalism. Fernando was founder and chief-editor at El País, general editor at the business daily Cinco Días, and now teaches at Universidad Carlos III. He's been president of the Madrid Press Association and the Spanish Federation of Press Associations. He's also member of the Spanish press complaints commission.

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