• In the last quarter of 2011, 348,700 jobs were destroyed, reflecting the deterioration in economic activity at the end of last year.
  • The need for in-depth labor reform becomes more urgent and is key to restoring confidence and job creation

The number of unemployed increased by 295,300 people between the months of October and December, an increase of 3.3% compared to the third quarter, according to data from the Labor Force Survey published today by the National Institute of Statistics. The total number of unemployed stood at 5,273 million people. Thus, the unemployment rate reached 22.85%, an increase of 1.3 percentage points.

This result is a consequence of a significant reduction in the number of employed persons (-348,700 people), combined with a slight drop in the labor force (-53,400 people). The higher rate of job destruction in the last quarter highlights the contraction experienced by the Spanish economy in the last three months of last year.

The temporary employment rate also increased in the fourth quarter, reaching 25%. This is due to the fact that salaried employees with an indefinite contract decreased by 3.4%, while those workers who have a temporary contract did so by -2.5%. For their part, those employed full-time also decreased by 3.7% in the interannual rate and those with a part-time contract did so to a lesser extent, 0.7%.

The destruction of jobs in the fourth quarter affected all the productive sectors of the economy, with the only exception of the agricultural sector. Construction continues to be the sector that destroys the most jobs, with a year-on-year drop of 18.8%. In the case of industry, the destruction of employment was accentuated, with a drop of 3.7%, and in the services sector employment continues at negative rates (-1.6%), which contrasts with the favorable data from the first six months of the year.

The negative evolution of the labor market affected males more, with a 4% drop in employment, than females (-2.4%). However, men continue to record a lower unemployment rate (22.6% vs. 23.3%). Lack of employment affects especially the youngest workers, since as the age of wage earners increases, the destruction of employment decreases. Employment is created among older workers.

In addition, the number of households in which all its members are unemployed increased by 150,000, which represents 9.1% of the whole. In total, 1.57 million households are in this situation.

These results show the most severe side of the fall in economic activity in the last quarter of last year, and reveal a specific problem in the functioning of the labor market in Spain. Therefore, this evidence highlights the need to carry out a comprehensive, balanced and courageous labor market reform.

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