SPAIN posted record employment figures in the second quarter of 2023, exceeding the 21-million mark for people in work for the first time ever. Meanwhile, unemployment fell to 11.6% of the active population, which is the lowest level seen since the year 2008. 

That’s according to the Active Population Survey, which was published by the country’s National Statistics Institute (INE) on Thursday.  

The figures show that the 21-million barrier of employed workers was broken thanks to 603,900 people joining the labour market in the months of April, May and June. 

Unemployment, meanwhile, fell from 13.26% in the first quarter to 11.6%, shedding 365,300 people for a total in the second quarter of 2.76 million unemployed. The unemployment rate is currently at its lowest since the third quarter of 2008, while the active population in Spain currently stands at a record high of 23.8 million from a total population of around 47 million. 

The numbers build on similarly strong figures for the first quarter of the year. From January to June 2023, a total of 592,800 jobs were created – that’s double the figure for the same period a year before. 

The INE figures also show that the number of workers on indefinite contracts has also hit a record high. Of the 505,500 new employees registered between April and June, 410,100 were on permanent contracts and 95,400 on temporary contracts. 

The caretaker deputy prime minister and labour minister, Yolanda Diaz, called the numbers ‘historic figures’, and said that Spain was in a better shape thanks to the Socialist Party-led government’s labour reforms. 

‘Quality and stability’

“Nearly 15 million people are now on indefinite contracts,” she said. “We have more employment, with greater quality and more stability.”

The caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, said that the figures were ‘extraordinary’ and that they “showed the strength of our economy”. 

The government’s labour reform was passed in late 2021 and was aimed at combating the high level of temporary contracts and precarious employment in the job market.

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