Neither inflation, nor the rise in interest rates, nor the crisis in the banking system... The labour market stands out from the economic turbulence experienced last March with 206,410 new affiliates and 48,755 fewer unemployed. It is the balance that has just been released by the Ministries of Labor and Social Security and that breathes air into the Government by anticipating an exceptional first quarter in terms of job creation, waiting to know the results of the Active Population Survey (EPA) that will be published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) at the end of this month.

The average affiliation grew in March by 206,410 people compared to the previous month and in seasonally adjusted terms (that is, eliminating the effect of the calendar to be able to make homogeneous comparisons) 151,943 jobs were created. This reaches 20.37 million average affiliates -20.53 million if you look at the seasonally adjusted series- after a first quarter in which 291,477 employed people have been added, the highest figure at this time of year since there are records in Social Security.

From the department directed by José Luis Escrivá they also highlight that the growth rate of March is "more than triple the average of the previous three months" and allows to strengthen the pension system, reaching the relationship between contributors and pensioners "the highest level of the decade", with 2.41 workers contributing to the system for each beneficiary who receives a benefit. The minister has thus taken advantage of the publication of the affiliation data to defend the distribution system when he has just approved the controversial second part of the pension reform, which pivots precisely on the increase in contributions to pay the retirement of the baby boom generation.

The good pace of affiliation, which has also allowed to exceed by more than one million employed the level prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, has been accompanied by a decrease in the records of the offices of the State Public Employment Service (SEPE) of 48,755 people after the largest percentage drop in a month of March since 2002 (-1.67%), leaving the total unemployed at 2,862,260, the lowest figure at this time of year since 2008. As a result, there are almost 250,000 fewer unemployed than a year ago, representing an annual rate of reduction in unemployment close to 8%. All this, taking into account that the official lists hide hundreds of thousands of inactive workers under the figure of the fixed-discontinuous contract, as the Government itself has recognized and this newspaper revealed.

Pull of services

However, the good performance of the labor market in March also occurs in a month that is not affected by Easter, since this year falls in April and it will be in these days when the bulk of hiring occurs to meet the increase in demand in the tourism sector. And in a context, we must insist, of economic turbulence to which employment seems, for the moment, immune. This is highlighted by the Ministry of Labor itself, under the baton of Yolanda Díaz: "It is an especially positive fact in an international economic context of uncertainty, especially in the financial field," he points out in his note.

This positive evolution is produced thanks to the pull of services, which is the sector where unemployment fell the most in March, specifically, by 42,789 unemployed, which represents practically 90% of all the reduction in unemployment registered last month. And that data corresponds to the performance of the affiliation, which registers the largest increase in services, with the hospitality industry in the lead after creating more than 71,800 new jobs. Although the Ministry prefers to highlight that there is a "remarkable" increase in employment in "high added value" sectors, such as information technology and telecommunications, whose number of affiliates has grown by 20.8% compared to those registered before the pandemic, or professional, scientific and technical activities, which presents a growth of 12.4%. "One in four affiliates joins these highly productive sectors," he emphasizes.

Permanent contracts

From the Social Security also affect that "fifteen months after the entry into force of the labor reform, its positive effects on the stabilization of employment and the improvement of its quality are still evident", since in March, the percentage of affiliates with temporary contracts has been reduced to reach the historical minimum of 14% (before the reform the average was 30%). For its part, Labor points out that 47% of the contracts signed last month were indefinite, a fact that "confirms the change of model in hiring."

Back to the unemployment data, the 'photo finish' of the month of March highlights a couple of striking aspects. On the one hand, that the Community of Madrid is the only one in which unemployment rose (it did so by just over 1,000 people), while it fell in the rest of the regions, with the exception of the autonomous city of Ceuta, where 197 more unemployed were registered; And on the other hand, in this case as a positive fact, that unemployment among young people under 25 years ofage fell for the first time in this month since there are records. Although it did so slightly, by 267 people, it allowed to reduce the total number of young unemployed to 215,099, the lowest in a March of the entire historical series.

  • Unemployment
  • Employment
  • Yolanda Diaz
  • Jose Luis Escriva
  • Social security

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