Spanish Labour Market: Sharp Increase In Furloughs in February Brings The Total To Almost 900,000

Forty years of democratic Spain: Haves and have-nots of labour marketMetro station of 'Bank of Spain' with the building under construction in the background

Randstad Research | Unemployment in Spain increased by 44,436 people in the month of February compared to January thus raising the number of jobless people to 4,008,789, a barrier not surpassed since April 2016, reflecting the restrictions imposed to deal with the third wave of the pandemic.

Similarly, there was an increase of 160,000 people in the number of furloughed employees, bringing the total to 899,383 as a consequence, basically, of the restrictions that several autonomous communities have decided to maintain on the retail sector and the hospitality industry and of the dramatic fall in the number of international tourists arriving in our country. Yesterday the figures for international tourists in the month of January were released: a year-on-year fall of 89.5%, five points worse than in December.

Of course, the worst moment of the crisis in terms of fall in production was in the months of March, April and May of last year. Then the number of people on temporary layoff programs was in the millions, reaching a maximum of 3.39 million in April. But the second and third waves of the pandemic made the number of furloughed employees increase first in November and then in February of this year.

It is not surprising that in February more than half of new ERTEs (85,660) came from the hospitality industry. This industry currently has 442,473 people on temporary layoff schemes, almost half of all employees on furlough in the Spanish economy. The retail sector, on the other hand, saw an increase of 48,000 in the number of ERTEs in February reaching a total of 145,219.