• EPA Unemployment grows by 103,800 people in the first quarter and the unemployment rate climbs to 13.26%
  • Data Why economists foresee 200,000 new jobs in all of 2023 if we already have 250,000

Employment in Spain in the first quarter of the year fell by 11,100 people, according to the Active Population Survey (EPA) published yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics. This is the slightest reduction in a first quarter since 2007 and much lower than last year, when employment in the country fell by 100,200 people. But, even so, it is a fall in employment that has disappointed according to how well affiliation has evolved, since 80,000 workers have been gained in the same period, according to Social Security.

Despite the net loss of 11,100 jobs, there are differences depending on the type of working day: the number of part-time workersincreased by 23,600 people, while the number of full-time employees fell by 34,800 people.

In particular, the number of part-time workers because they follow education and training courses increased (41,300 more than in the last quarter of 2022), those who do not work full-time because they have to take care of children or dependent adults (18,900 more), those with family obligations or personal (23,000) or those who have not been able to find full-time work (5,700). On the other hand, the number of workers who work part-time due to illness or disability and those who do not want to work full-time has fallen.

With the evolution of the first quarter, the number of workers in Spain stands at 20,452,800, 5% above the level registered in the first quarter of 2019 – the last one prior to the pandemic. However, this gain of workers is not equivalent to the increase that has occurred in the total hours actually worked in Spain, precisely because of the increase in the proportion of temporary or part-time contracts. Hours worked are up 3.45% since that first quarter of 2019.

Although they have not grown at the same rate since then, in this first quarter the number of effective gross hours worked grew above the average of the first quarters since 2008 and by a magnitude similar to that observed a year ago.

"The increase in permanent contracts is one of the great news for employment in recent months. However, the market is showing some warning signs that should be addressed. This is the case of the decrease in productive hours or the growing trend of underemployment among the indefinitely employed population", warn from InfoJobs.

Private companies were mainly responsible for the fall in employment in the first quarter (8,800 fewer jobs), although there was also a loss in the public sector (2,300 fewer workers than in the fourth quarter). By sector, industry suffered the largest loss of jobs (11,200 less), followed by agriculture (5,000) and construction (2,700 fewer workers), although these falls were offset by hiring in the services sector, where 7,800 jobs were gained.

By autonomous communities, the Balearic Islands lost the most workers (38,600 fewer employed), followed by Castilla y León (-21,400) and the Canary Islands (-13,600), while the regions with the highest job creation were Andalusia (66,300 more), the Community of Madrid (31,400) and Aragon (7,300).

The first quarter was especially positive for women, as employment increased with 41,700 more employed, while the number of men with work fell by 52,800 people. There were also differences by nationality, since while the number of Spaniards with a job fell by 37,900 people, that of foreigners with a job increased by 26,800.

By age, mainly young people under 25 years of age (16,000 fewer employed) and people between 40 and 44 years of age (-55,600) lost their jobs, while employment increased for those over 50 years of age (the largest increase, of 40,500 employed, was for those over 55 years of age) and those between 25 and 34.

31.3% temporary employment in the public sector

One of the positive employment figures is the fall in temporary employment that has occurred since the approval of the labor reform and, especially, among young people.

The number of workers with temporary contracts fell in the first quarter by 3.7% to 2.9 million people; while that of permanent workers rose 0.6% to 14.35 million. This decline, however, was concentrated in the private sector, where the number of temporary workers fell by 154,200 people, bringing the temporary employment rate to a record low of 13.7%. Meanwhile, it continued to rise in the public sector to stand at 31.3%, with 37,200 new storms, almost four times more than the target of 8% committed to the European Commission.

Young people were the ones who benefited most from the fall in temporary employment, and the percentage of people under 30 with a temporary contract fell from 52% in the first quarter of 2022 to 36% in this year. For those aged 30 to 44, temporary employment went from 24% to 17%, and for those aged 45 or over, the least affected, it went from 15% to 12%. By sectors, construction was the one that registered the largest decrease, of 13 points; followed by agriculture, with a decrease of 11 points. The latter is the one with the highest rate of temporary employment.


We see with concern the high rate of temporary employment in public employment, specifically 31.3%, which contrasts with the decrease in temporary contracts registered in the private sector. We call on the Government to be prudent and to stop triumphalism in the face of the situation of economic uncertainty and the needs of thousands of Spanish families," they point out from CSIF.

Rise in unemployment due to massive incorporation into the labour market

The positive employment data were clouded yesterday by those of unemployment, since, according to the EPA, the number of unemployed in the country rose by 103,800 people in the first quarter, the largest increase for that period of the last ten years if 2020 is not taken into account -a year in which, Due to the shock of the pandemic, 120,000 jobs were destroyed in the first quarter. You have to go back to 2013 to find a more negative year than this in unemployment, when the number of unemployed increased by 257,200 people.

This increase left the final number of unemployed in the country at 3,127,800 people and led to the unemployment rate from 12.87% to 13.26%, while the number of households that have all their active members unemployed increased by 7,800, to a total of 1,055,300.

"The situation of households in terms of unemployment is currently in a worse scenario than it was immediately before the pandemic: in the last quarter of 2019, 7.49% of households with active members had all of them unemployed, and that proportion is currently 7.60%", warn from Randstad Research.

The main explanation for this sharp increase in the number of unemployed lies in the increase in the labour force, i.e. that there are now more people willing to work in the country. This is a good thing, because the new unemployed are not, for the most part, people who have lost their jobs but people who did not work before and now do want a job.

Specifically, the number of active workers has risen by 92,700 people, the largest increase in a first quarter since 2008 -when 150,500 people were added-, bringing the active population to 23,580,500 people.

The profile of that person who now wants to join the labor market is that of a foreign woman, since while the number of active men has fallen by 24,300 people, that of women has risen by 117,000. By nationality, there are 85,400 new foreign assets compared to 7,300 Spaniards.

This group may include people who previously had no need for workand now, due to inflation and loss of purchasing power, are forced to look for a job to increase household income; foreigners who are in the country in search of a job - for example, Ukrainian refugees; or even workers with a discontinuous fixed contract who were in a period of inactivity, waiting to be called again, and in the absence of that call have decided to start looking for a new job, with which they go from being inactive to being unemployed.

In the first quarter, 718,800 people who in the last quarter of 2022 were considered inactive – because they were not looking for a job – have become active and, specifically, unemployed, as they are looking for a job; while 429,100 inactive people have gone directly to the labour market when they find a position or, in the case of discontinuous permanent ones, when they have been called back by the company with which they signed the contract.

  • INE
  • Employment

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Learn more