7/01/2015 – Expansion
A lot has been said about the year 2014 in the light of recovery. Although voices in favor of the improvement counterpoise those against it, in general experts agree that the year marked a turning point for the country’s economy.
Being the best year in terms of employment since 1998, 253.627 jobless people changed their status in the registries of the Public Employment Services, informs the Ministry of Employment and the Social Security. Currently, 4.447.711 people has no work in Spain. There was a more vivid activity on the labor market, adding 417.574 affiliates to the Social Security database. In short, this is the first positive development since the beginning of the crisis.
The jobless seem to return to active search and, as the Minister of Economic Affairs Luis de Guindos said, ‘people no more fear losing their jobs’, like they did throughout the last 2-3 years.
In December, 79.463 new jobs were created, meaning the best progress since 1996. On the other hand, 64.405 people left their ‘unemployed’ state.
Althought it is true that the sudden jump was triggered by the arrival of the Christmas season, also non-seasonal jobs went to 46.201 workers and 5.404 of them found the more-permanent job in December.
Generally, the data should be approached twofold. Firstly, the number of the employed has risen by 624.467, while the number of the unemployed fell by 592.511 since February 2013, when the figures hit their worst since the recession had begun.
In turn, both numbers are still worse than in December 2011 when the People’s Party (Partido Popular, PP) came to power.
The Employment Contracts
Last year saw an abrupt jump in contract signing, above all in the open-ended agreements, which overally increased by 13.08%. During 2014, 1.350.331 open-ended contracts were sealed, up 18.98% from 2013, thanks to the flat rate of the Social Security.
In force since February 25th, the measure allows the employers to pay 100 euros for 24 months provided that they promise to maintain the level of employment in their firms for at least three years.
The 2014 data confirms the jobless rate shrank in all Spanish regions, provinces (but Jaen) and all activity fields.
However, the Public Administration accounted for one-fourth of the new jobs created in the entirety of 2014, ‘disguising the data flowing from the education and the healthcare sectors’.
The cost of unemployment benefits fell by 18.1% to nearly 1.93 billion euros per month. There are less and less beneficiaries (12.1% less) but also the allowance is getting lower and lower. Thus, the 2.462.329 beneficiaries (about 55% of all unemployed) receive 802,5 euros monthly on average, by 6.8% less than a year earlier.
The atmosphere of labor market faring better invokes certain optimism. However, the confidence figures are still poor – 90.6 points out of 200 – and 33.5% of Spanish households claim their situation is more difficult than it was six months ago, with a mere 10.5% saying otherwise.
Original story: Expansión (by Pablo Cerezal)
Translation: AURA REE