In the last four years, the self-employed who are engaged in commerce have decreased 4.2% in Spain, a total of 33,732 less autonomous. From November 2015 to November 2019 (latest data published by Social Security) the number of freelancers in the business has increased from 812,668 freelancers to 778,936 freelancers in Spain. However, there are autonomous communities that stand out even more negatively in their autonomous loss figures, even doubling the percentage of loss. Thus, Asturias leads the percentage loss of freelancers dedicated to trade in the last four years with a reduction of 8.6% (-1,510 freelancers of trade in four years). They are followed by Cantabria (-8.5%), Aragón (-8.1%), Castilla y León (-8%), Basque Country (-7.7%), Galicia (-7.3%) and La Rioja (-7%).

At the other extreme, and although all the autonomous communities lose autonomous in this sector, there are Canary Islands that have seen their number of freelancers reduced by 0.9%, well below the average, or Andalusia that has done so in 1% (see table).

It should also be noted that the only seven communities that lose autonomous in these 4 years are precisely those that have been most affected by the loss of businesses. While Spain in the last four years has 102,905 autonomous, the communities of Castilla y León (-4.4%), Asturias and Aragón (-4%), Galicia (-3.6%) and the Basque Country, La Rioja and Cantabria (-1.9%) lose affiliates to the RETA.

"Commerce faces great challenges such as online sales and digitalization that, as we have said before, will force traders to renew themselves and those pre-crisis figures will not be recovered," said Lorenzo Amor , president of ATA. “Trade is the sector that has most accused the depopulation process that worries us so much. When the small business is closed in a town, the town dies, and when there are no real opportunities for entrepreneurship and generational change in those same towns, young people leave and businesses lose all possibility of customers. Where a trade closes, the life of the people is lost. It is a circle that we must break to save trade and revitalize our communities with a higher index than the rural population. Where the population is lost, such as Asturias, Galicia or Castilla y León, the self-employed suffer the most. In Spain, 23 freelancers of commerce are lost in the last 4 years. We must put measures to stop this bleeding now. ”

By provinces

If we expand the analysis and talk about the Spanish provinces, the only positive fact is the increase of 1.2% of the self-employed in the province of Malaga and 0.5% increase in those of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The rest of the Spanish provinces have lost freelancers in the last four years and the province of Barcelona that has lost 5,619 freelancers (-5.9%) of the trade stands out in absolute figures. It is 73.6% of all freelancers in commerce lost in Catalonia in that period. Although within the autonomous community it is Tarragona that loses the most autonomous percentage, with -8.3% (-1,119 freelancers of commerce) doubling the national average (-4.2%).

The province that has lost the most autonomous percentage from November 2015 to November 2019 is Orense with a decrease of 11.7%. They are followed by a greater percentage loss of self-employed people from the Palencia trade (-11.1%), followed by Burgos (-10.2%), Huesca (-9.6%) and Guipúzcoa (-9.2%).

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