• The data shows the need to continue with the ambitious program of structural reforms initiated by the Government

The number of unemployed increased by 365,900 people between the months of January and March, a figure that represents an increase of 6.9% compared to the previous quarter, according to data from the Labor Force Survey published today by the National Statistics Institute. The total number of unemployed stands at 5,639 million people.

In this way, the unemployment rate reaches 24.4% of the active population, an increase of 1.6 percentage points compared to the previous quarter. In seasonally adjusted terms, the unemployment rate stood at 23.8%, one point above the previous quarter.

This result has been mainly a consequence of the significant reduction in the number of employed persons (-374,300 people), to which has been added a slight drop in the active population (-8,400 people), which supposes a year-on-year drop rate of 4% , compared to -3.3% in the previous quarter. When correcting the seasonal employment, the fall in employment reaches about 100,000 people, down to -276,000. The higher rate of job destruction in the first quarter highlights the weakness experienced by the Spanish economy in the last section of 2012 and in the first quarter of the current one.

The temporary employment rate decreased significantly, by 1.2 points in the first quarter, to stand at 23.7%. This is due to the fact that salaried employees with an indefinite contract decreased by 3.4%, the same as in the previous quarter, while those workers with a temporary contract intensified the rate of decline by 5 points, down to -7.5% . In turn, full-time employed persons decreased at an annual rate of -4.2%, while those with part-time contracts did so at a lower rate (-2.4%). Both rates represent an intensification of the year-on-year drop, half a point in the first group and 1.8 points in the second. After this result, the percentage of part-time workers increases 0.6 points, to 14.4%, which reaches historical maximum levels.

The destruction of jobs in the first quarter affects the whole of the large productive sectors of the economy. Construction continues to be the sector that destroys employment with the greatest intensity, with a year-on-year drop of 20.6%. The services sector also intensifies the fall in employment, from -1.6% in the previous quarter to -2.4%, a deterioration that has truncated the favorable expectations that some quarters existed for employment in this sector. Industry is the only major sector of activity that moderates the rate of job destruction, registering a year-on-year drop of -3.2% compared to -3.7% in the previous quarter.

The negative evolution of the labor market affects males more, with an interannual drop of 5.3% in employment, than females (-2.3%). However, males continue to record a somewhat lower unemployment rate (24% vs. 24.9%). Lack of employment affects especially the youngest workers, since as the age of wage earners increases, the destruction of employment decreases. In addition, the number of households in which all its members are unemployed increased by 158,400, which means that 1.73 million households are in this situation.

The results of the EPA for the first quarter of this year are the result of the inertia of the sharp slowdown in the Spanish economy that began in mid-2011. However, the data for the first quarter of the year have a high seasonal component. In seasonally adjusted terms, the deterioration in the employment and unemployment figures for the first quarter of 2012 are similar to those for the last quarter of 2011, which is indicative of some stabilization in the deterioration in activity.

In any case, these negative data show the need to continue with the ambitious structural reform program initiated by the Spanish Government, which seeks to lay the foundations for the recovery of production and employment, and positively affect confidence in the Spanish economy. .

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