• The number of employed persons decreased by 184,600 in the first quarter, the smallest drop since the same period in 2008
  • The unemployment rate rises two tenths, to 25.9%, one point below that in the first quarter of a year ago

According to the estimates of the Active Population Survey (EPA) prepared by the INE, in the first quarter of 2014 the job decreased by 184,600 people compared to the previous quarter, compared to a drop of 309,200 in the same period in 2013. This is the smallest decrease in a first quarter since 2008. In the last year, 79,600 jobs have been lost (-0.5 %). Unemployment, on the other hand, has recorded a drop of 2,300 people, while in the same period of 2013 it increased by 257,200. In the last year, unemployment has fallen by 344,900 people, the largest annual decrease since mid-2005. The total number of unemployed people stood at 5,933,300 and the unemployment rate rose two tenths, to 25.9%, one point less than a year ago.

The decline in employment has led to a quarter-on-quarter drop of 1.1%, a rate that stands at -0.1% with seasonally adjusted series, according to INE estimates. From a sectoral perspective, the reduction in employment has been concentrated mainly in the non-agricultural sector, with losses of 126,000 jobs in the tertiary sector, 48,200 in construction and 42,200 in industry. In contrast, agriculture increased the number of employed by 31,800. Compared to a year earlier, the primary sector increased its level of occupation by 92,600 jobs and that of services by 30,800. In contrast, construction lost 123,000 and industry 79,900. However, industry slows down the rate of decline by 0.6 percentage points, down to -3.4%, while construction intensifies it by 2.4 percentage points, down to -11.5%.

Considering the professional situation, the quarterly decrease in employment corresponded to 164,000 for employees and 20,300 for non-employees. On the other hand, the decrease in employment was due exclusively to the private sector, which decreased by 195,800 people, while the public increased by 11,100. Compared to a year earlier, the public sector reduced its workforce by 31,200 employed persons and the private by 48,400, with interannual rates of -1.1% and -0.3%, respectively.

From the point of view of the job stability, the quarterly decrease in employees has fallen both on temporary and on permanent jobs. Workers with permanent contracts have decreased by 51,600 and temporary workers have decreased by 112,400. Compared to a year earlier, workers with permanent contracts decreased 1.9% (moderating their rate of decline 0.5 percentage points) and those with temporary contracts increased to 5% (from 2.3% in the previous quarter ). After this result, the temporary employment rate drops to 23.1%, from 23.6%, although it rises 1.2 points compared to the one a year earlier.

As regards the workday, full-time employed persons decreased by 176,800 in the quarter and part-time employed persons decreased by 7,800. Compared to the same period a year earlier, full-time ones fell by 0.9% and part-time ones increased by 2.1%. These rates represent a slowdown in the fall of 1.4 points in the first group and a moderation of the growth rate of 3.2 percentage points in the second. After these results, the weight of part-time workers over the total increased by 0.1 points in the quarter and 0.4 points compared to a year earlier, placing the partiality rate at 16.2%.

The active population the downward trend continued and decreased by 187,000 people in the quarter (-0.8%). Compared to a year earlier, it decreased by 424,500 people, -1.8%, compared to -1.2% in the previous quarter. The decline in the labor force responds mainly to a decrease in the activity rate. This rate decreases 0.4 points, reaching 59.5%, due to the behavior of the activity rate for men, which drops six tenths and stands at 65.5% and, to a lesser extent, the of women, which fell two tenths to 53.8%.

The unemployment it decreased in the first quarter of 2014 by 2,300 people, compared to the increase of 257,000 in the same quarter of the previous year. It should be noted that a fall in unemployment in the first quarter has not been recorded since 2005. Thus, the total number of unemployed stands at 5,933,300 people and the unemployment rate rises two tenths, to 25.9% of the active population. With seasonally adjusted series by the INE, the quarter-on-quarter variation in the number of unemployed stood at -2.2%, compared to -1.2% in the previous quarter. Compared to a year earlier, unemployment fell by 344,900, 5.5%. The quarterly fall in unemployment especially affects women, with a decrease of 10,100 people, bringing the unemployment rate of this group up four hundredths and standing at 26.6%. In men, unemployment rises by 7,700, with which their unemployment rate increases three tenths, up to 25.4%.

In summary, the evaluation of these results is positive in general terms, despite the fact that the first quarter of the year is not usually favorable from the seasonal point of view. This year was the first quarter with a clear lower drop in employment among all the first quarters since 2008. Between 2008/2013, the average annual drop was 342,000 jobs. In addition, the decrease in annual rate of employment decreases markedly. Finally, unemployment has decreased, which contrasts with the increase in all the first quarters since 2008, with an average annual volume of increase of 366,000 unemployed.

Therefore, the trends to improve employment and unemployment continue, which we hope will intensify in the coming quarters. Throughout the year, a gradual increase in net job creation is expected, in line with the recovery in activity, until reaching a positive annual average. Likewise, it is estimated that unemployment will continue to decrease, to end the year with a significantly lower rate than at the beginning of the year.

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