• Since 2004 there was no decrease in unemployment in a fourth quarter
  • Employment falls by 65,000 jobs but rises 0.3% if seasonally adjusted

The number of unemployed has been reduced by 69,000 people at the end of 2013, which is the best annual record since 2006, according to data from the Labor Force Survey (EPA) published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). In relation to the previous quarter, unemployment has decreased by 8,400 people, the first fall recorded since 2004 for a fourth quarter. The unemployment rate remains practically unchanged, at 26.03% of the active population. For its part, employment decreased by 65,000 people compared to the previous quarter, which contrasts favorably with the decrease of 363,200 people in the same period in 2012. In the last year, 198,900 jobs have been lost, -1.2% compared to – 2.9% in the previous quarter, the smallest year-on-year drop recorded in a fourth quarter since the start of the crisis.

The decrease in employment has meant a quarter-on-quarter decrease of 0.4%, but when correcting for seasonality, according to the INE estimate, this variation rate implies an increase of 0.3%, compared to the 0.3% fall in previous quarter. By sector, the reduction in employment was mainly concentrated in the services and construction sectors, with losses of 109,100 and 35,200 employees, respectively, and marginally in industry (6,000 jobs). In contrast, agriculture increased by 85,200. Compared to a year earlier, the primary sector increased its level of occupation by 6,800 people and services practically maintained it, by losing 900. On the other hand, construction lost 95,500 employees and industry, 109,300. However, these sectors slow down their year-on-year rate of decline, construction by 1.9 percentage points, down to -8.9%, and industry by two points, down to -4.6%.

Considering the professional situation, the quarterly decrease in employment has corresponded to 54,600 non-employees and 10,400 employees. On the other hand, this decrease in employment was due to a greater extent to the public sector, where it fell by 34,800 jobs, compared to a drop of 30,200 in the private sector.

The quarterly decrease in salaried employment has been temporary. While permanent contract workers have increased by 45,600, temporary workers have decreased by 56,000. In relation to a year earlier, workers with permanent contracts decreased by 2.5% (moderating their rate of decline by 0.2 points) and those with temporary contracts showed a positive interannual rate of 2.5% (from -2 , 3% of the third quarter). After this result, the temporary employment rate drops to 23.9%, from 24.3% in the previous quarter, although it rises 0.9 points compared to a year earlier.

Full-time employed persons decreased by 218,100 in the quarter, while part-time employed persons increased by 153,100. Compared to the same period a year earlier, full-time ones decreased by 2.4% and part-time ones increased by 5.4%. These rates represent a slowdown in the fall of 1.6 points, in the first group and an increase in the growth rate of 1.5 percentage points in the second. After these results, the weight of the part-time employed over the total increased 0.9 points with respect to the previous quarter and one point with respect to a year earlier, placing the bias rate at 16.3%.

The active population continued the downward trend and decreased by 73,400 people in the quarter (-0.3%). Compared to a year earlier, it was reduced by 267,900 people, -1.2% compared to -1.6% in the previous quarter. The decline in the labor force responds both to a decrease in the population over 16 years of age (19,300 people) compared to the third quarter, and to a decrease in the activity rate. This rate decreases 0.16 points, standing at 59.4%, due to the male activity rate that drops half a point and stands at 65.9%; on the other hand, that of women increases two tenths, up to 53.3%.

Unemployment decreased by 8,400 people in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to an increase of 187,000 in the same period of the previous year. It should be noted that a fall in unemployment in the fourth quarter has not been recorded since 2004 (-21,700). In the interannual rate, the decrease in unemployment stood at -1.2%. You have to go back to 2006 to find a calendar year in which there has been a decrease in the number of unemployed. It is also notable that all the reduction in the number of unemployed has materialized in the age groups between 16 and 24 years.

Thus, the total unemployed stands at 5,896,300 people and the unemployment rate practically remains, rising 5 hundredths to 26.03% of the active population. According to the seasonally adjusted unemployment series by the INE, the quarter-on-quarter variation in the number of unemployed is -1.2%, compared to -0.15% in the previous quarter. Before the second quarter of 2013, you have to go back to 2007 to find quarterly quarterly quarterly rates with a negative sign. The fall in unemployment especially affects men, with a decrease of 51,600 people, bringing the unemployment rate of this group down two tenths to 25.3%.

By Autonomous Community, the ones that registered the greatest increase in employment during the fourth quarter were Catalonia, the Canary Islands and the Valencian Community, while the most important decreases corresponded to the Balearic Islands, Castilla-León and Galicia. From the unemployment point of view, the greatest falls were located in the Canary Islands and Catalonia, while the most notable increases were observed in Madrid and the Balearic Islands.

In summary, the evolution of the labor market during the fourth quarter of last year deserves a positive evaluation. The year ends with fewer unemployed than there were at the beginning and the unemployment rate does not increase throughout the year. Two aspects that have not occurred since the start of the economic crisis. The smallest drop in employment was recorded in a fourth quarter of the year since 2007 and in seasonally adjusted terms job creation was achieved. All this in a context of fiscal consolidation and continuity in the correction of public employment.

This is data that is in line with information on affiliations and registered unemployment from the Ministry of Employment, and even improves on those initially planned. These advances are expected to continue in the coming months, in line with the consolidation of the economic recovery.

However, the level of unemployment remains unacceptably high. Therefore, the reform drive and commitment to fiscal consolidation have been maintained, in order to maintain confidence in the Spanish economy and strengthen the economic recovery.

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