SPAIN’s labour market has recovered to pre-pandemic levels as unemployment fell faster than ever before.

But the jobless figure still stands at more than 3.1 million people or 13.5% of the country’s workforce.

In 2021, around 776,500 people entered the workforce and another 782,000 left the unemployment roll, according to the Ministry of Labour.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez welcomed the figures, saying: “Once again, the data reflects the progress of Spain’s recovery.

“We will not stop. We will continue working to fight against precarity and keep creating quality employment,” added Sanchez.

There were 10 straight months of net job creation for the first time in Spain as businesses recovered from a miserable 2020 that was severely affected by the COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions.

EU training spaniards queue outside unemployment office data
SIGNING OFF: unemployment has fallen 20% in a year

The jobless figure was down 20% over December 2020, which might be expected after the pandemic shock, but the more encouraging news is that the number of unemployed people is at the lowest level since 2007 before the financial crisis hit.

The biggest gains were made in the service and hospitality sectors as tourism recovered, while the construction, industrial and agricultural sectors also saw small gains last year.

Spain’s Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz highlighted that jobless figures for young people and women also fell. Historically Spain has had some of the worst levels of youth unemployment in Europe.

The pandemic saw unemployment rise by about 725,000 people in 2020. But even that was considerably better than 2008 when the financial crisis saw the construction industry in Spain grind to a halt. The jobless figure soared by a million and it took five years before the labour market began to recover.

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