• Since 2004 there was no decline in unemployment in a fourth quarter
  • Employment falls by 65,000 positions but rises 0.3% if it is 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 Active Population Survey (EPA) published by the National Statistics Institute (INE). In relation to the previous quarter, unemployment has fallen by 8,400 people, the first fall since 2004 for a fourth quarter. The unemployment rate remains virtually unchanged, in 26.03% of the active population. Employment in turn decreased by 65,000 people compared to the previous quarter, which contrasts favorably with the decrease of 363,200 people in the same period of 2012. In the last year 198,900 jobs have been lost, -1.2% compared to – 2.9% of the previous quarter, the lowest year-on-year fall recorded in a fourth quarter since the beginning of the crisis.

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

According to the professional situation, the quarterly decrease in employment has corresponded to 54,600 non-salaried employees and 10,400 wage earners. On the other hand, this decline in employment was due to a greater extent to the public sector, where it was reduced by 34,800 jobs, compared to a 30,200 fall in the private sector.

The quarterly decline in salaried employment has been temporary. While permanent contract workers have increased by 45,600, storms have decreased by 56,000. In relation to a year earlier, workers with an indefinite contract decreased 2.5% (moderating their rate of fall 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 employees decreased by 218,100 in the quarter while part-time employees increased by 153,100. With respect to the same period of one year earlier, full-time ones decreased 2.4% and part-time ones increased 5.4%. These rates mean 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 part-time employees over the total increased 0.9 points compared to the previous quarter and one point compared to a year earlier, with 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 active population responds both to a decrease in the population over 16 years old (19,300 people) compared to the third quarter, as well as to a decrease in the activity rate. This rate is reduced by 0.16 points, standing at 59.4%, due to the activity rate of men 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 fell by 8,400 people in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to an increase of 187,000 in the same period last year. It should be noted that a fall in unemployment in the fourth quarter was not recorded since 2004 (-21,700). In the interannual rate, the decrease in unemployment stands at -1.2%. We must go back to 2006 to find a calendar year in which there has been a decrease in the number of unemployed. It is also noteworthy that all the reduction in the number of unemployed has materialized in the age groups between 16 and 24 years.

In this way, the total number of unemployed stands at 5,896,300 people and the unemployment rate is practically maintained, rising 5 hundredths to 26.03% of the active population. According to the seasonally adjusted unemployment series by the INE, the inter-quarterly variation in the number of unemployed is -1.2%, compared to -0.15% in the previous quarter. Prior to the second quarter of 2013, it is necessary to go back to 2007 to find outstanding inter-quarterly rates with a negative sign. The fall in unemployment especially affects men, with a decrease of 51,600 people, with which the unemployment rate of this group drops two tenths to 25.3%.

By autonomous communities, those that registered a greater 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 point of view of unemployment, 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 assessment. The year ends with fewer unemployed than there were at the beginning and the unemployment rate does not increase in the year as a whole. Two aspects that have not occurred since the beginning of the economic crisis. The lowest fall in employment is recorded in a fourth quarter of the year since 2007 and in seasonally adjusted terms, job creation is achieved. All this in a context of fiscal consolidation and continuity in the correction of public employment.

These are data that are in line with the information of affiliations and registered unemployment of the Ministry of Employment, and even improve those initially planned. The continuity of these advances is expected in the coming months, in line with the consolidation of the economic recovery.

However, the level of unemployment remains unacceptably high. Therefore, the reform impulse and the 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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